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Kay-Shu ttleworth, (Sir) Jaunes 

The moral and physical 
condition of the working classes 
employed in the cotton 
manufacture in Manchester 



c. 1 

. r 






" Many schemes of amelioration are at all times afloat. We hold, that without the 
growth of popular intelligence and virtue, they will, every one of them, be ineffectual." 








Printed by Harrison and Crosfield, 

Market Street. 


MANY events have concurred to impress the public mind 
with a sense of the importance of minutely investigating 
the state of the working classes. The statistical evidence 
contained in this pamphlet, is offered as a humble contri- 
bution to the fund of information concerning the moral and 
physical condition of the poor throughout the kingdom. 
We carefully avoid instituting any comparison. Were 
similar investigations made in other large towns, we fear 
that it would be discovered, that not a few exist, with 
which Manchester might be very favourably compared. 

The evils here unreservedly exposed, so far from being 
the necessary consequences of the manufacturing system, 
have a remote or accidental origin, and might, by judicious 
management, be entirely removed. Nor do they flow from 
any single source : and, especially in the present state of 
trade, the hours of labour cannot be materially diminished, 
without occasioning the most serious commercial embarrass- 
ment. We exhibit a frightful picture of the consequences 

of injudicious legislation. The evils of a restricted com- 
merce affect not the capitalist alone: for the working 
classes are reserved the bitterest dregs of the poisoned 

To the stranger, it is also necessary to observe, that 
the investigations on whose results the conclusions of this 
pamphlet are founded, were of necessity conducted in the 
township of Manchester only ; and that the inhabitants 
of a great part of the adjacent townships are in a condition 
superior to that described in these pages. The most 
respectable portion of the operative population has, we 
think, a tendency to avoid the central districts of Manches- 
ter, and to congregate in the suburbal townships. 





SELF-KNOWLEDGE, inculcated by the maxim of the 
ancient philosopher, is a precept not less appropri- 
ate to societies than to individuals. The physical 
and moral evils by which we are personally sur- 
rounded, may be more easily avoided when we are 
distinctly conscious of their existence, and the virtue 
and health of society may be preserved, with less 
difficulty, when we are acquainted with the sources 
of its errors and diseases. 

The sensorium of the animal structure, to which 
converge the sensibilities of each organ, is endowed 
with a consciousness of every change in the sensa- 
tions to which each member is liable ; and few 
diseases are so subtle as to escape its delicate per- 
ceptive power. Pain thus reveals to us the existence 
of evils, which, unless arrested in their progress, 
might insidiously invade the sources of vital action. 

Society were well preserved, did a similar faculty 
preside, with an equal sensibility, over its constitu- 
tion ; making every order immediately conscious of 


the evils affecting any portion of the general mass, 
and thus rendering their removal equally necessary 
for the immediate ease, as it is for the ultimate 
welfare, of the whole social system. The mutual 
dependance of the individual members of society and 
of its various orders, for the supply of their neces- 
sities and the gratification of their desires, is acknow- 
ledged, and it imperfectly compensates for the want 
of a faculty, resembling that pervading conscious- 
ness which presides over the animal economy. But 
a knowledge of the moral and physical evils oppress- 
ing one order of the community, is by these means 
slowly communicated to those which are remote; 
and general efforts are seldom made for the relief of 
partial ills, until they threaten to convulse the whole 
social constitution. 

Some governments have attempted to obtain, by 
specific measures, that knowledge for the acquisition 
of which there is no natural faculty. The statistical 
investigations of Prussia, of the Netherlands, of 
Sweden, and of France, concerning population, la- 
bour, and its commercial and agricultural results ; 
the existing resources of the country, its taxation, 
finance, &c. are minute and accurate. The econo- 
mist may, however, still regret, that many most 
interesting subjects of inquiry are neglected, and 
that the reports of these governments fail to give a 
perfect portraiture of the features of each individual 
part of the social body. Their system, imperfect 
though it be, is greatly superior to any yet intro- 

duced into this country. Here, statistics are neg- 
lected ; and when any emergency demands a special 
inquiry, information is obtained by means of com- 
mittees of the Commons, whose labours are so 
multifarious, as to afford them time for little else 
than the investigation of general conclusions, de- 
rived from the experience of those supposed to be 
most conversant with the subject. An approximation 
to truth may thus be made, but the results are never 
so minutely accurate as those obtained from statisti- 
cal investigations ; and, as they are generally deduced 
from a comparison of opposing testimonies, and 
sometimes from partial evidence, they frequently 
utterly fail in one most important respect, viz. 
in convincing the public of the facts which they 

The introduction into this country of a singularly 
malignant contagious malady, which, though it se- 
lects its victims from every order of society, is chiefly 
propagated amongst those whose health is depressed 
by disease, mental anxiety, or want of the comforts 
and conveniences of life, has directed public atten- 
tion to an investigation of the state of the poor. In 
Manchester, Boards of Health were established, in 
each of the fourteen districts of Police, for the pur- 
pose of minutely inspecting the state of the houses 
and streets. These districts were divided into mi- 
nute sections, to each of which, two or more inspec- 
tors were appointed from among the most respectable 
inhabitants of the vicinity, and they were provided 


with tabular queries, applying to each particular 
house and street. Individual exceptions only exist, 
in which minute returns were not furnished to the 
Special Board : and as the investigation was prompted 
equally by the demands of benevolence, of personal 
security, and of the general welfare, the results may be 
esteemed as accurate as the nature of the investiga- 
tion would permit. The other facts contained in 
this pamphlet have been obtained from the public 
offices of the town, or are the results of the author's 
personal observation. 

The township of Manchester chiefly consists of 
dense masses of houses, inhabited by the population 
engaged in the great manufactories of the cotton 
trade. Some of the central divisions are occupied 
by warehouses and shops, and a few streets by the 
dwellings of some of the more wealthy inhabitants ; 
but the opulent merchants chiefly reside in the 
country, and even the superior servants of their es- 
tablishments inhabit the suburbal townships. Man- 
chester, properly so called, is chiefly inhabited by 
shopkeepers and the labouring classes. Those dis- 
tricts where the poor dwell are of very recent origin. 
The rapid growth of the cotton manufacture has 
attracted hither operatives from every part of the 
kingdom, and 'Ireland has poured forth the most 
destitute of her hordes to supply the constantly in- 
creasing demand for labour. This immigration has 
been, in one important respect, a- serious evil. The 
Irish have taught the labouring classes of this country 

a pernicious lesson.j The system of cottier farming, 
the demoralization and barbarism of the people, and 
the general use of the potato as the chief article of 
food, have encouraged the population in Ireland more 
rapidly than the available means of subsistence have 
been increased. ^Debased alike by ignorance and 
pauperism, they have discovered, with the savage, 
what is the minimum of the means of life, upon 
which existence may be prolonged. They have 
taught this fatal secret to the population of this 
country. As competition and the restrictions and 
burdens of trade diminished the profits of capital, 
and consequently reduced the price of labour, the 
contagious example of ignorance and a barbarous 
disregard of forethought and economy, exhibited by 
the Irish, spread,j The colonization of savage tribes 
has ever been attended with effects on civilization as 
fatal as those which have marked the progress of the 
sand flood over the fertile plains of Egypt. Instructed 
in the fatal secret of subsisting on what is barely 
necessary to life, the labouring classes have ceased 
to entertain a laudable pride in furnishing their 
houses, and in multiplying the decent comforts which 
minister to happiness. What is superfluous to the 
mere exigencies of nature, is too often expended at 
the tavern ; and for the provision of old age and in- 
firmity, they too frequently trust either to charity, 
to the support of their children, or to the protection 
of the poor laws^c 

When this example is considered in connexion 


with the unremitted labour of the whole population 
engaged in the various branches of the cotton manu- 
facture, our wonder will be less excited by their fatal 
demoralization. Prolonged and exhausting labour, 
continued from day to day, and from year to year, 
is not calculated to develop the intellectual or moral 
faculties of man. The dull routine of a ceaseless 
drudgery, in which the same mechanical process is in- 
cessantly repeated, resembles the torment of Sisyphus 
the toil, like the rock, recoils perpetually on the 
wearied operative. The mind gathers neither stores 
nor strength from the constant extension and re- 
traction of the same muscles. The intellect slumbers 
in supine inertness; but the grosser parts of our nature 
attain a rank development. To condemn man to 
such severity of toil is, in some measure, to cultivate 
in him the habits of an animal. He becomes reckless. 
He disregards the distinguishing appetites and habits 
of his species. He neglects the comforts and deli- 
cacies of life. He lives in squalid wretchedness, on 
meagre food, and expends his superfluous gains in 
yj^ debauchery. 

The population employed in the cotton factories 
rises at five o'clock in the morning, works in the 
mills from six till eight o'clock, and returns home 
for half an hour or forty minutes to breakfast. This 
meal generally consists of tea or coffee with a little 
bread. Oatmeal porridge is sometimes, but of late 
rarely used, and chiefly by the men ; but the stimulus 
of tea is preferred, and especially by the women. 


The tea is almost always of a bad, and sometimes of 
a deleterious quality, the infusion is weak, and little 
or no milk is added. The operatives return to the 
mills and workshops until twelve o'clock, when an hour 
is allowed for dinner. Amongst those who obtain 
the lower rates of wages this meal generally consists 
of boiled potatoes. The mess of potatoes is put into 
one large dish ; melted lard and butter are poured 
upon them, and a few pieces of fried fat bacon are 
sometimes mingled with them, and but seldom a little 
meat. Those who obtain better wages, or families 
whose aggregate income is larger, add a greater 
proportion of animal food to this meal, at least three 
times in the week ; but the quantity consumed by the 
labouring population is not great. The family sits 
round the table, and each rapidly appropriates his 
portion on a plate, or, they all plunge their spoons 
into the dish, and with an animal eagerness satisfy 
the cravings of their appetite. At the expiration of 
the hour, they are all again employed in the work- 
shops or mills, where they continue until seven o'clock 
or a later hour, when they generally again indulge in 
the use of tea, often mingled with spirits accompanied 
by a little bread. Oatmeal or potatoes are however 
taken by some a second time in the evening. 

The comparatively innutritious qualities of these 
articles of diet are most evident. We are, however, 
by no means prepared to say that an individual living 
in a healthy atmosphere, and engaged in active 
employment in the open air, would not be able to 


continue protracted and severe labour, without any 
suffering, whilst nourished by this food. We should 
rather be disposed on the contrary to affirm, that any 
ill effects must necessarily be so much diminished, 
that, from the influence of habit, and the benefits 
derived from the constant inhalation of an uncon- 
taminated atmosphere, during healthy exercise in 
agricultural pursuits, few if any evil results would 
ensue. But the population nourished on this aliment 
is crowded into one dense mass, in cottages separated 
by narrow, unpaved, and almost pestilential streets ; 
in an atmosphere loaded with the smoke and exhala- 
tions of a large manufacturing city. The operatives are 
congregated in rooms and workshops during twelve 
hours in the day, in an enervating, heated atmosphere, 
which is frequently loaded with dust or filaments of 
cotton, or impure from constant respiration, or from 
other causes. They are engaged in an employment 
which absorbs their attention, and unremittingly em- 
ploys their physical energies.* They are drudges 
who watch the movements, and assist the operations, 
of a mighty material force, which toils with an energy 
ever unconscious of fatigue. The persevering labour 
of the operative must rival the mathematical pre- 
cision, the incessant motion, and the exhaustless 
power of the machine. 

* A gentleman, whose opinions on these subjects command 
universal respect, suggests to me, that the intensity of this ap- 
plication is exceedingly increased by the system of paying, not 
for time, but according to the result of labour. 


Hence, besides the negative results the total 
abstraction of every moral and intellectual stimulus 
the absence of variety banishment from the grate- 
ful air and the cheering influences of light, the phy- 
sical energies are exhausted by incessant toil, and 
imperfect nutrition. Having been subjected to the 
prolonged labour of an animal his physical energy 
wasted his mind in supine inaction the artizan 
has neither moral dignity nor intellectual nor organic 
strength to resist the seductions of appetite. His 
wife and children, too frequently subjected to the 
same process, are unable to cheer his remaining mo- 
ments of leisure. Domestic economy is neglected, 
domestic comforts are unknown. A meal of the 
coarsest food is prepared with heedless haste, and de- 
voured with equal precipitation. Home has no other 
relation to him than that of shelter few pleasures 
are there it chiefly presents to him a scene of phy- 
sical exhaustion, from which he is glad to escape. 
Himself impotent of all the distinguishing aims of 
his species, he sinks into sensual sloth, or revels in 
more degrading licentiousness. His house is ill fur- 
nished, uncleanly, often ill ventilated, perhaps damp ; 
his food, from want of forethought and domestic 
economy, is meagre and innutritious ; he is debilitated 
and hypochondriacal, and falls the victim of dissi- 

These artizans are frequently subject to a disease, 
in which the sensibility of the stomach and bowels 
is morbidly excited ; the alvine secretions are de- 


ranged, and the appetite impaired. Whilst this state 
continues, the patient loses flesh, his features are 
sharpened, the skin becomes pale, leaden coloured, 
or of the yellow hue which is observed in those who 
have suffered from the influence of tropical climates. 
The strength fails, all the capacities of physical en- 
joyment are destroyed, and the paroxysms of corpo- 
real suffering are aggravated by the horrors of a 
disordered imagination, till they lead to gloomy 
apprehension, to the deepest depression, and almost 
to despair. We cannot wonder that the wretched 
victim of this disease, invited by those haunts of 
misery and crime the gin shop and the tavern, as he 
passes to his daily labour, should endeavour to cheat 
his suffering of a few moments, by the false excite- 
ment procured by ardent spirits ; or that the ex- 
hausted artizan, driven by ennui and discomfort from 
his squalid home, should strive, in the delirious 
dreams of a continued debauch, to forget the remem- 
brance of his reckless improvidence, of the destitution, 
hunger, and uninterrupted toil, which threaten to 
destroy the remaining energies of his enfeebled con- 

The contagious example which the Irish have 
exhibited of barbarous habits and savage want of 
economy, united with the necessarily debasing con- 
sequences of uninterrupted toil, have demoralized 
the people. 

The inspection conducted by the District Boards of 
Health chiefly referred to the state of the streets and 


houses, inhabited by the labouring population to 
local nuisances, and more general evils. The greatest 
portion of these districts, especially of those situated 
beyond Great Ancoats-street, are of very recent 
origin ; and from the want of proper police regula- 
tions are untraversed by common sewers. The houses 
are ill soughed, often ill ventilated, unprovided with 
privies, and in consequence, the streets which are 
narrow, unpaved, and worn into deep ruts, become 
the common receptacles of mud, refuse, and disgust- 
ing ordure. 

The Inspectors' reports do not comprise all the 
houses and streets of the respective districts, and are 
in some other respects imperfect. The returns con- 
cerning the various defects which they enumerate 
must be received, as the reports of evils too positive 
to be overlooked. Frequently, when they existed in 
a slighter degree, the questions received no reply. 

Predisposition to contagious disease is encouraged 
by every thing which depresses the physical energies, 
amongst the principal of which agencies may be 
enumerated imperfect nutrition ; exposure to cold 
and moisture, whether from inadequate shelter, or 
from want of clothing and fuel, or from dampness of 
the habitation ; uncleanliness of the person, the 
street, and the abode ; an atmosphere contaminated, 
whether from the want of ventilation, or from im- 
pure effluvia ; extreme labour, and consequent 
physical exhaustion ; intemperance ; fear ; anxiety ; 
diarrhoea, and other diseases. The whole of these 


subjects could not be included in the investigation, 
though it originated in a desire to remove, as far as 
possible, those ills which depressed the health of the 
population. The list of inquiries to which the in- 
spectors were requested to make tabular replies is 
subjoined, for the purpose of enabling the reader to 
form his own opinion of the investigation from which 
the classified results are deduced. 

The state of the streets powerfully affects the 

TABLE No. 1. 


District No. 

Name of Street, Court, tfc. 



Name of Street, Court, fyc. 



1. Is the House in good 

12. Is a private privy at- 
tached to the house ? 

2. Is it clean? 

13. Will the tenants assist 

3. Does it require White- 
washing ? 

in cleansing the streets 
and houses ? 

4. Are the rooms well ven- 
tilated, or can they be 
without change in win- 
dows, &c. 

14. Will they allow the 
Town's Authorities to 
whitewash them, if they 
cannot conveniently do 

5. Is the house damp, or 

it themselves ? 


15. Are the tenants gene- 

6. Are the cellars inha- 

rally healthy or not ? 


16. What is their occupa- 

7. Are these inhabited cel- 
lars damp or ever flooded ? 

tion ? 

8. Are the soughs in a bad 
state ? 

17. Remarks concerning 

9. Who is the proprietor ? 

10. What number of fami- 
lies or lodgers does the 
house contain ? 

18. Habits of life. 

11. What is the state of 
the beds, closets, and 
furniture ? 

19. General observations. 


health of their inhabitants. Sporadic cases of typhus 
chiefly appear in those which are narrow, ill venti- 
lated, unpaved, or which contain heaps of refuse, or 
stagnant pools. The confined air and noxious ex- 
halations, which abound in such places, depress the 
health of the people, and on this account contagious 
diseases are also most rapidly propagated there. The 
operation of these causes is exceedingly promoted by 
their reflex influence on the manners. The houses, 
in such situations, are uncleanly, ill provided with 
furniture ; an air of discomfort if not of squalid and 
loathsome wretchedness pervades them, they are often 
dilapidated, badly drained, damp ; and the habits of 
their tenants are gross they are ill-fed, ill-clothed, 
and uneconomical at once spendthrifts and destitute 
denying themselves the comforts of life, in order that 
they may wallow in the unrestrained licence of animal 

TABLE No. 2. 


District No. 


Names of Streets, Courts, Alleys, 8fc. 8fc. 




Is the street, court, or alley narrow, and is it ill 
ventilated ? 

Is it paved or not ? 

If not, is it under the Police Act ? 

Does it contain heaps of refuse, pools of stagnant 
fluid, or deep ruts ? 

Are the public and private privies well situated, 
and properly attended to ? 

Is the street, court, or alley, near a canal, river, 
brook, or marshy land ? 

General Observations. 



appetite. An intimate connexion subsists, among 
the poor, between the cleanliness of the street and 
that of the house and person. Uneconomical habits, 
and dissipation are almost inseparably allied ; and they 
are so frequently connected with uncleanliness, that 
we cannot consider their concomitance as altogether 
accidental. The first step to recklessness may often 
be traced in a neglect of that self-respect, and of the 
love of domestic enjoyments, which are indicated by 
personal slovenliness, and discomfort of the habitation. 
Hence, the importance of providing by police regu- 
lations or general enactment, against those fertile 
sources alike of disease and demoralization, presented 
by the gross neglect of the streets and habitations of 
the poor. When the health is depressed by the con- 
currence of these causes, contagious diseases spread 
with a fatal malignancy among the population sub- 
jected to their influence. The records* of the Fever 
Hospital of Manchester, prove that typhus prevails 
almost exclusively in such situations. 

The following table, arranged by the Committee 
of Association appointed by the Special Board of 
Health, from the reports of Inspectors of the various 
District Boards of Manchester, shows the extent to 
which the imperfect state of the streets of Manches- 
ter may tend to promote demoralization and disease 
among the poor. 

* Abundant evidence of this fact was collected by Mr. Wallis. 
lately House Surgeon to the House of Recovery. 


No. of 

No. of streets 

No. of streets 
un paved. 

No. of streets No. of streets 
partially pvd. ill ventilated. 

No. of btreeta 
containing heaps 
of refuie.stagnaiit 
pools, ordure, &c. 




































7 53 





















12 12 




13 55 





14 33 




Total . . 687 


53 112 

352 V 

A minute inspection of this table will render the 
extent of the evil affecting the poor more apparent. 
Those districts which are almost exclusively inhabited 
by the labouring population are Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 
10. Nos. 13 and 14, and 7, also contain, besides 
the dwellings of the operatives, those of shopkeepers 
and tradesmen, and are traversed by many of the 
principal thoroughfares. No. 11 was not inspected, 
and Nos. 5, 6, 8, and 9, are the central districts 
containing the chief streets, the most respectable 
shops, the dwellings of the more wealthy inhabitants, 
and the warehouses of merchants and manufacturers. 
Subtracting therefore from the various totals those 
items in the reports which concern these divisions 
only, we discover in those districts which contain a 
large proportion of poor, namely, in Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 
7, 10, 13, and 14, that among 579 streets inspected, 
243 were altogether unpaved 46 partially paved 


93 ill ventilated and 307 contained heaps of refuse, 
deep ruts, stagnant pools, ordure, &c.; and in the dis- 
tricts which are almost exclusively inhabited by the 
poor, namely, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10, among 438 streets 
inspected, 214 were altogether unpaved 32 partially 
paved 63 ill ventilated and 259 contained heaps 
of refuse, deep ruts, stagnant pools, ordure, &c. 

The replies to the questions proposed in the second 
table relating to houses, contain equally remarkable 
results, which have been carefully arranged by the 
Classification Committee of the Special Board of 
Health, as follows. 


o. of houses 

o. of houses 
eported as 
hite washing 


Sll K 



o. of houses 
eported as 

o. of houses 


Z M S 

z " 

Z .5 a-, v 


Z M 5 








70 326 







109 755 







52 96 







69 250 







11 66 
































































Total . . 








It is however to be lamented, that even these nu- 
merical results fail to exhibit a perfect picture of 
the ills which are suffered by the poor. The replies 
to the questions contained in the inspectors' table 
refer only to cases of the most positive kind, and the 


numerical results would therefore have been exceed- 
ingly increased, had they embraced those in which the 
evils existed in a scarcely inferior degree. Some 
idea of the want of cleanliness prevalent in their 
habitations, may be obtained from the report of the 
number of houses requiring whitewashing ; but this 
column fails to indicate their gross neglect of order, 
and absolute filth. Much less can we obtain satisfactory 
statistical results concerning the want of furniture, 
especially of bedding, and of food, clothing, and fuel. 
In these respects the habitations of the Irish are most 
destitute. They can scarcely be said to be furnished. 
They contain one or two chairs, a mean table, the 
most scanty culinary apparatus, and one or two beds, 
loathsome with filth. A whole family is often accommo- 
dated on a single bed, and sometimes a heap of filthy 
straw and a covering of old sacking hide them in one 
undistinguished heap, debased alike by penury, want 
of economy, and dissolute habits. Frequently, the 
inspectors found two or more families crowded into 
one small house, containing only two apartments, 
one in which they slept, and another in which they 
eat ; and often more than one family lived in a damp 
cellar, containing only one room, in whose pestilen- 
tial atmosphere from twelve to sixteen persons were 
crowded. To these fertile sources of disease were 
sometimes added the keeping of pigs and other 
animals in the house, with other nuisances of the 
most revolting character. 

As the visits of the inspectors were made in the 


day, when the population is engaged in the mills, 
and the vagrants and paupers are wandering through 
the town, they could not form any just idea of the 
state of the pauper lodging houses. The establish- 
ments thus designated are fertile sources of disease 
and demoralization. They are frequently able to 
accommodate from twenty to thirty or more lodgers, 
among whom are the most abandoned characters, 
who, reckless of the morrow, resort thither for the 
shelter of the night men who find safety in a con- 
stant change of abode, or are too uncertain in their 
pursuits to remain beneath the same roof for a longer 
period. Here, without distinction of age or sex, 
careless of all decency, they are crowded in small and 
wretched apartments ; the same bed receiving a suc- 
cession of tenants until too offensive even for their 
unfastidious senses. The Special Board being desi- 
rous that these lodging houses should be inspected 
by the Overseers, the Churchwardens obtained a re- 
port of the number in each district, which cannot fail 
to be a source of surprise and apprehension. 


District No 


No, of houses. 

2 ..'.. 


3 .. .. 


4 . 


5 . . . . 





8 . 

No. of houses. 

District No. 9 

10 12 

11 26 


13 60 

14 1 


The temporary tenants of these disgusting abodes, 
too frequently debased by vice, haunted by want, 


and every other consequence of crime, are peculiarly 
disposed to the reception of contagion. Their asy- 
lums are frequently recesses where it lurks, and they 
are active agents in its diffusion. They ought to be 
as much the objects of a careful vigilance from those 
who are the guardians of the health, as from those 
who protect the property of the public. 

In some districts of the town exist evils so remark- 
able as to require more minute description. A por- 
tion of low, swampy ground, liable to be frequently 
inundated, and to constant exhalation, is included 
between a high bank over which the Oxford Road 
passes, and a bend of the river Medlock, where its 
course is impeded by weirs. This unhealthy spot 
lies so low that the chimneys of its houses, some of 
them three stories high, are little above the level of 
the road. About two hundred of these habitations are 
crowded together in an extremely narrow space, and 
are inhabited by the lowest Irish. Most of these houses 
have also cellars, whose floor is scarcely elevated 
above the level of the water flowing in the Medlock. 
The soughs are destroyed, or out of repair : and these 
narrow abodes are in consequence always damp, and 
on the slightest rise in the river, which is a frequent 
occurrence, are flooded to the depth of several 
inches. This district has been frequently the haunt 
of hordes of thieves and desperadoes who defied the 
law, and is always inhabited by a class resembling 
savages in their appetites and habits. It is sur- 
rounded on every side by some of the largest factories 


of the town, whose chimneys vomit forth dense clouds 
of smoke, which hang heavily over this insalubrious 

The subjoined document resulted from an inspec- 
tion made by a Special Sub-committee of Members 
of the Board of Health, and the signatures of the 
gentlemen forming that Sub-committee were ap- 
pended to it.* 


The undersigned having been deputed by the Special Board 
of Health to inquire into the state of Little Ireland, beg to report 
that in the main street and courts abutting, the sewers are all in 
a most wretched state, and quite inadequate to carry off the surface 
water, not to mention the slops thrown down by the inhabitants 
in about two hundred houses. 

The privies are in a most disgraceful state, inaccessible from 
filth, and too few for the accommodation of the number of people 
the average number being 1 two to two hundred and fifty people. 
The upper rooms are, with few exceptions, very dirty, and the 
cellars much worse ; all damp, and some occasionally overflowed. 
The cellars consist of two rooms on a floor each nine to ten feet 
square, some inhabited by ten persons, others by more: in many, the 
people have no beds, and keep each other warm by close stowage 
on shavings, straw, &c.; a change of linen or clothes is an excep- 
tion to the common practice. Many of the back rooms where 
they sleep have no other means of ventilation than from the front 

Some of the cellars on the lower ground were once filled up as 
uninhabitable ; but one is now occupied by a weaver, and he has 
stopped up the drain with clay, to prevent the water flowing 
from it into his cellar, and mops up the water every morning. 


Near the centre of the town, a mass of buildings 
inhabited by prostitutes and thieves, is intersected 
by narrow and loathsome streets, and close courts 
defiled with refuse. These nuisances exist in No. 13 
District, on the western side of Deansgate, and 
chiefly abound in Wood-street, Spinning Field, 
Cumberland-street, Parliament Passage, Parliament- 
street, and Thomson-street. In Parliament-street 
there is only one privy for three hundred and eighty 
inhabitants, which is placed in a narrow passage, 
whence its effluvia infest the adjacent houses, and 
must prove a most fertile source of disease. In this 
street also, cess pools with open grids have been 

We conceive it will be impossible effectually to remove the evils 
enumerated ; and offer the following suggestions with a view to 

their partial amelioration. 

First, to open up the main sewer from the bottom, and to 

relay it. 

Secondly, to open and unchoke the lateral drains, and secure 
a regular discharge of the water, &c., into the main sewer. 

Thirdly, to enforce the weekly cleansing and purification of the 

Fourthly, if practicable, to fill up the cellars. 

Fifthly, to provide the inhabitants with quicklime, and induce 
them to whitewash their rooms, where it can be done with safety. 

Sixthly, if possible, to induce the inhabitants to observe 
greater cleanliness in their houses and persons. 

In conclusion, we are decidedly of opinion that should Cholera 
visit this neighbourhood, a more suitable soil and situation for its 
malignant development cannot be found than that described and 
commonly known by the name of Little Ireland. 


made, close to the doors of the houses, in which dis- 
gusting refuse accumulates, and whence its noxious 
effluvia constantly exhale. In Parliament Passage 
about thirty houses have been erected, merely sepa- 
rated by an extremely narrow passage (a yard and a 
half wide) from the wall and back door of other 
houses. These thirty houses have one privy. 

The state of the streets and houses in that part of 
No. 4 included between Store-street and Travis- 
street, and London Road, is exceedingly wretched 
especially those built on some irregular and broken 
mounds of clay, on a steep declivity descending into 
Store Street. These narrow avenues are rough, 
irregular gullies, down which filthy streams per- 
colate ; and the inhabitants are crowded in dilapidated 
abodes, or obscure and damp cellars, in which it is 
impossible for the health to be preserved. 

Unwilling to weary the patience of the reader by 
extending such disgusting details, it may suffice to 
refer generally to the wretched state of the habita- 
tions of the poor in Clay-street, and the lower por- 
tion of Pot-street ; in Providence-street, and its ad- 
joining courts ; in Back Portugal-street ; to a fla- 
grant example of the *" barrack system " "in Cot- 
ton-street, (No. 27,) a lofty building of six stories, 

* Dr. Lyon on the Medical Topography and Statistics of 
Manchester. North of England Medical and Surgical Journal, 
vol. i. page 16. 


occupied by at least twelve families of weavers,"- 
" to a place called Gibraltar, near Scotland Bridge," 
and to the state of almost the whole of that mass 
of cottages filling the insalubrious valley through 
which the Irk flows, and which is denominated Irish 

The houses of the poor, especially throughout the 
whole of the Districts Nos. I, 2, 3, 4, are too gene- 
rally built back to back, having therefore only one 
outlet, no yard, no privy, and no receptacle of re- 
fuse, Consequently the narrow, unpaved streets, 
in which mud and water stagnate, become the com- 
mon receptacles of offal and ordure. Often low, 
damp, ill ventilated cellars exist beneath the houses ; 
an improvement on which system, consists in the 
erection of a stage over the first story, by which ac- 
cess is obtained to the second, and the house is in- 
habited by two separate families. More than one 
disgraceful example of this might be enumerated. 
The streets, in the districts where the poor reside, 
are generally unsewered, and the drainage is conse- 
quently superficial. The houses are often built with 
a total neglect of order, on the summit of natural 
irregularities of the surface, or on mounds left at the 
side of artificial excavations on the brick grounds, 
with which these parts of the town abound. 

These districts are inhabited by a turbulent po- 
pulation, which, rendered reckless by dissipation and 
want, misled by the secret intrigues, and excited 


by the inflammatory harangues of demagogues, has 
frequently committed daring assaults on the liberty 
of more peaceful portions of the working classes, 
and the most frightful devastations on the property 
of their masters. Machines have been broken, and 
factories gutted and burned at mid-day, and the 
riotous crowd has dispersed ere the insufficient body 
of police arrived at the scene of disturbance. The 
civic force of the town is totally inadequate to main- 
tain the peace, and to defend property from the 
attacks of lawless depredators, and a more efficient, 
and more numerous corps ought to be immediately 
organized, to give power to the law, so often 
mocked by the daring front of sedition, and out- 
raged by the frantic violence of an ignorant and 
deluded rabble. The police form, in fact, so weak 
a screen against the power of the mob, that popu- 
lar violence is now, in almost every instance, con- 
troled by the presence of a military force. 

The wages* obtained by operatives in the various 
branches of the cotton manufacture are, in general, 
such, as with the exercise of that economy without 

* " The wages are paid weekly, not once a fortnight, or once 
a month, as is the case in collieries and many other places. The 
youngest child in the mill earns three shillings per week, and the 
best female spinner twenty one shillings. The total paid is 356. 
averaging nine shillings and three pence per week to each per- 
son employed." Letter to Lord Althorp in Defence of the Cotton 
Factories of Lancashire. By HOLLAND HOOLE, ESQ. 


which wealth itself is wasted, would be sufficient to 
provide them with all the decent comforts of life 
the average wages of all persons employed (young 
and old) being from nine to twelve shillings per 
week. Their means are consumed by vice and im- 
providence. But the wages of certain classes are 
exceedingly meagre. The introduction of the power- 
loom, though ultimately destined to be productive 
of the greatest general benefits, has, in the present 
restricted state of commerce, occasioned some tem- 
porary embarrassment, by diminishing the demand 
for certain kinds of labour, and, consequently, their 
price. The hand-loom weavers, existing in this 
state of transition, still continue a very extensive 
class, and though they labour fourteen hours and 
upwards daily, earn only from five to seven or 
eight shillings per week.* They consist chiefly of 
Irish, and are affected by all the causes of moral 
and physical depression which we have enumerated. 
Ill-fed ill-clothed half-sheltered and ignorant ; 
weaving in close, damp cellars, or crowded, ill-venti- 
lated workshops, it only remains that they should 
become, as is too frequently the case, demoralized 
and reckless, to render perfect the portraiture of 
savage life. Amongst men so situated, the moral 
check has no influence in preventing the rapid in- 

* Evidence of Joseph Foster before the Emigration Com- 
mittee, 1827. 



crease of the population. The existence of cheap and 
redundant labour in the market has, also, a constant 
tendency to reduce its general price, and hence 
a just apprehension may be entertained, that these 
evils, as they tend to increase existing misery, and 
to promote prevailing vice, will continue as long as 
the demoralization and ignorance by which they are 
fostered, and which they have a direct tendency to 

The poor laws provide, we fear, too frequently a 
plea for improvidence and idleness. When reckless 
of the future, the intelligence of man is confined by 
the narrow limits of the present. By that step he 
debases himself beneath the animals whose instincts 
teach them to lay up stores for the season of need. 
The artificial structure of society, in providing secu- 
rity against existing evils, has too frequently neg- 
lected the remote moral influence of its arrangements 
on the community. Humanity rejoices in the con- 
sciousness, that the poorest may obtain the advan- 
tages of skilful care in disease, and succour in want;* 
that there are asylums for infirmity, age, and de- 
crepitude ; but the unlimited extension of benefits, 
devised by a wise intelligence for the relief of evils 
which no human prescience could elude, has a direct 

* See a Paper in The Transactions of the Manchester Lite- 
rary and Philosophical Society, on the Poor Laws, by John 
Kennedy, Esq. 

tendency to encourage, among the poor, .agathy con- 
cerning present exigencies, and the neglect of a pro- 
vision for the contingencies of the future. The effect 
of this will be favoured by every other demoralizing 
cause, and will therefore operate most powerfully 
among those who are most debased. 

Impressed with these opinions, we endeavoured to 
discover whether such statistical facts as might be 
obtained from the town's offices, tended to prove the 
concomitance of pauperism with moral and physical 
degradation. Unfortunately, the distribution of the 
poor rates is not registered separately for each of the 
police divisions. We are therefore only able to compare 
the four sections of the town visited by the overseers. 
The first and second of these four sections, which we 
shall denominate the Newtown and the Ancoats Dis- 
tricts, comprise Nos. 1, 2, and 4, and therefore con- 
tain almost exclusively poor inhabitants. On the 
other hand, the third, or central division, besides 
Nos. 5, 6, 9, and a small part of No. 8, which are 
inhabited by a great number of shopkeepers and 
tradesmen, contains also Nos. 10, 11, and 14, which 
have a very large proportion of poor. The fourth, 
or Portland-street District, besides Nos. 3, 7, and 13, 
containing many poor, likewise comprises No. 12, 
and the greater part of No. 8, in which the poor 
inhabitants are relatively much less numerous. 

We have subjoined a table exhibiting the popula- 
tion of each of the police divisions, according to the 


last census, and arranged in the four sections visited 
by the overseers of the poor, so as to exhibit their 
relative population. 




Portland Street. 

No. 2.. 25581 
fof4.. 9337 

No. 1.. 31573 
fof4. . 6225-J- 

No. 5 . 7275 
6 . 1274 
9 . 3318 
10 . 3886 
11 . 13635 
14 . 6834 
i of 8 . 686 

No. 3 .. 11431 
7 .- 9784 
| of 8 . . 2058 
12 .. 1859 
13 .. 7269 





The cases relieved at the Churchwardens' offices 
are classed as Irish and English cases : the first con- 
sist exclusively of Irish cases without settlements, but 
under the denomination of English cases, are included 
all who have obtained settlements, whether English or 
Irish; and this class comprises a very great propor- 
tion of Irish. We have been enabled, by the liberality 
of the Churchwardens, and Mr. Gardiner's politeness, 
to obtain returns of the relative proportion of these 
cases during the four winter months of the four years 
from 1827 to 1831 inclusive. The general table is 
inserted in the appendix,* but from this we have de- 
duced some more minutely classified results, which we 
conceive strongly to corroborate the opinions which 
we have hazarded, concerning the origin and growth 
of pauperism. 

The table contained in the Appendix exhibits, in 

* See Appendix No. 1 . 


the first place, an alarming increase of pauperism in 
the whole township. The total number of cases 
(each representing, on the average, two and a half 
individuals) relieved in the township, in the months 
of November, December, January, and February of 
1827 and 28, was 30,717, or included 76,792 indi- 
vidual acts of relief, each continued for an indefinite 
period. This number had, in the same months of 
1830-31, increased to 45,842, or, at a period when 
the population amounted to 142,026, it included 
114,605 individual acts of relief, each of which com- 
prised indefinite portions of the four months, or had 
almost doubled in four years. Supposing these acts 
to have been administered at all times to different 
persons, then more than four-fifths of the whole po- 
pulation were relieved fojc. an indefinite portion of 

the four winter months. I 

The relative proportion of Irish cases without 
settlements, and of English and Irish cases with 
settlements, and their relative increase during these 
four years, are perhaps still more remarkable. 


Nov. Dec. Jan $ Feb. of 1827-8, 1828-9, 1829-30, 1830-31. 


No. 2 &iNo. 4 

Irish. English. 

1559 6059 

Irish. English. 
1490 5434 

Irish. English. 
3911 8023 

Irish. English. 
4051 9129 


No. 1 & i No. 4 

1482 6701 

2155 7158 

2690 8022 

3818 9027 


Nos. 5, 6, 9, 10 

366 7422 

532 7161 

742 9668 

909 10214 


Nos. 3, 7, 12, 13 
and of No. 8 

264 6864 

577 6974 

1186 8591 

1114 7580 


The proportion of Irish cases without settlements, 
in the Ancoats and Newtown Divisions, containing 
Nos. 1, 2, and 4, and its relative increase, are ex- 
ceedingly greater than in the Central and Portland 
Street Districts ; notwithstanding that the number 
of Irish in these latter sections is much augmented 
by the inclusion of Nos. 3, 7, 10, and 13. 

By the following table, this increase may be more 
easily compared. 

DISTRICTS. ' Nov. Dec. Jan. % f>6. c/1827-8, 1828-9, 1829-30, 1830-31. 



Irish. English. 
3041 12760 

630 14286 

Irish. English. 
3645 12692 

1109 14136 

Irish. English. 

6601 16045 
1928 18259 

Irish. English. 

7869 18156 
2023 17794 

The Newtown and Ancoats Districts have always 
contained a greater proportion of Irish than any 
other portion of the town ; but the increase of pau- 
perism in the Central and Portland Districts, must 
evidently be ascribed to the recent rapid coloniza- 
tion of Irish in Divisions 3, 7, and 10 ; since, whilst 
the Irish cases, having no settlements, have increased 
from 600 to 2,000, or are more than trebled, the 
cases having settlements, which have been relieved, 
have only increased from 14,000 to 17,000, or 
about two-ninths. In the same period, the rapid 
relative increase of the Irish cases having no settle- 
ments, in the Newtown and Ancoats Districts, ren- 
ders it extremely probable, that the increase of 
those cases which have obtained settlements, is in a 
great measure to be imputed to the Irish ; and that 


pauperism, therefore, spreads most XApidly, in an 
ignorant and demoralized population^. These tables 
also abundantly testify, that jDauperisrn chiefly pre- 
vails in those portions of the town, where the sources 
of moral and physical depression, to which we have 
alluded, are the most numerous.J 

The relative proportion of the population to the 
cases and individuals relieved, in the four Sections 
visited by the Overseers, is displayed in the follow- 
ing table. 


Cases relieved for 
indefinite periods 
of the four winter 
months, 1830-31. 


Individual acts of 
relief for 
indefinite periods 
of time. 


Total. . . . 


Total. . . . 



of which |=139671 








.. TV=11072-rV 
= 8100 





The following table* shows the relative propor- 
tion of cases relieved in the four Overseers' Sections 
during three portions of the year 1830-31, each con- 
taining four months. 

DISTRICTS, i Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. 

March, April, 

May, June. 

July, Aue. Sept. Oct. 

Irish. English. 



Irish. English. 


4051 9129 



3409 7996 

ANCOAT8... . 

3818 9027 



3280 8107 


909 10214 



695 9287 


1114 7580 



863 7766 

9892 35950 



8247 33156 

See Appendix, No. 2. 



The population of the township is 142,026; and the 
acts of parochial relief in one year, each continued 
through indefinite periods of time, were 321,172, 
of which acts 67,700 concerned Irish who had ob- 
tained no settlements.^ 

The sources of vice and physical degradation are 
allied with the causes of pauperism. Amongst the 
poor, the most destitute are too frequently the most 
demoralized virtue is the surest economy vice is 
haunted by profligacy and want. Where there are 
most paupers, the gin shops, taverns, and beer houses 
are most numerous. The following table enumerates 
the taverns of the town. Gin shops are held under 
the same licence, and are attached to three fourths 
of these establishments. 


No. 1... . 

. .. 62 

No. 6 


No 11 


2... . 

. . . 44 

7.. . . 

. . . 19 




. ..48 

8... . 

. . . 10 



4.. . 



. 36 






. 4 

Total 430 

To this number may perhaps be added 322 gin shops. 
These last establishments especially abound in the 
poorest and most destitute districts, where their pro- 
portion to the taverns is at least four fifths. We were 
unable to procure, from the officers of excise in Man- 
chester, information concerning the relative propor- 
tion of the beer houses in the several divisions of 
the town ; but we are informed by Mr. Shawcross, 


of the Police department, that their number is at 
least three hundred. If we subtract fifty respectable 
inns, which, however, have generally tap rooms at- 
tached to them, one thousand haunts of intemperance 
exist in Manchester. 

The districts 1, 2, 3, and 4, may be conceived to 
represent most correctly the exclusively labouring 
population ; but in estimating the relative number of 
all these sources of vice frequented by the population 
of these districts, it is necessary to include those of 
the adjoining divisions 5 and 6, where a much smaller 
proportion of poor resides. The result is, that in 
Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, there are 270 taverns, 216 
gin shops, (estimated as four fifths of taverns,) 188 
beer houses, (estimated as being distributed through 
the divisions of the town in the same ratio as the 
taverns,) total, 674, or more than two thirds of 
the whole number of taverns, gin shops, and beer 
houses of the town, may therefore be considered as 
chiefly ministering to the vicious propensities of the 
inhabitants of Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4. Some idea may 
be formed of the influence of these establishments on 
the health and morals of the people, from the follow- 
ing statement ; for which we are indebted to Mr. 
Braidley, the Boroughreeve. He observed the num- 
ber of persons entering a gin shop in five minutes, 
during eight successive Saturday evenings, and at 
various periods from seven o'clock until ten. The 
average result was, 112 men and 163 women, or 
275 in forty minutes, which is equal to 412 per hour. 



The amount of crime is one chief means of ascer- 
taining the moral condition of a community. To 
the perfection of this estimate it is, however, essen- 
tial that crimes committed against the person should 
be distinguished from those against property. * ff The 
moral guilt of the latter depending considerably upon 
the equality of the distribution of wealth throughout 
the country, the degree of ease in which the people 
live ought also to be brought into view ; and when 
we compare the criminal calendars of different na- 
tions, we ought not to omit to refer to their respec- 
tive modes of administering justice, and to the 
attention paid in each country to that branch of it 
which we call preventive. That prevention is by far 
the more important care, in point both of duty and 
expediency, is a truth which governments are be- 
ginning to perceive ; though in most countries re- 
pression, and in not a few vindictiveness,f still form 
the spirit of the penal code." " So long as the will 
of man is free, and it is in his power either to con- 
form to the law, or to violate it, the care of the 
legislature should be to turn that will into the right 

The state of the registers required for an accurate 
investigation of the amount of crime committed in 
Manchester, was such as to demand more time in 

* Foreign Quarterly Review, vol. v. p. 404. 

t Works of Charles Lucas also "De la Justice de la Pre- 
voyance" and " De la Mission de la Justice Humaine." Par 
M. Dupfatiaux. 


their classification, than, under the circumstances 
in which this pamphlet was prepared, we were able 
to give the subject. We have obtained, however, an 
account of the number of persons committed at the 
New Bailey Court House, Salford, for the different 
offences under which their commitment is recorded. 
The amount of crime exhibited in this table results 
therefore from a much greater population than that 
contained in the township ; the out-townships being 
also included, or a population of at least 240,000. 

Number of Felons 














Persons committed for want of sureties to keep 
the peace non-payment of fines neglect of 
family &c ... . . . .... 

For want of sureties to appear at the Sessions. . 

Rogues and Vagabonds . . . 

We subjoin, in a note, a table extracted from a very 
valuable pamphlet published by Mr. Ridgway, en- 
titled " An Enquiry into the State of the Manufac- 
turing Population, and the Causes and Cures of the 
Evils therein existing,"* by which the reader may be 












Cheshire .... 
Lancashire . . 
Middlesex .. . 
Nottingham . . 
Warwick .... 


1 29,3 


Berkshire. . . . 





Hampshire . . 
Devonshire . . 

Average 840 



enabled to form a more accurate opinion concerning 
the relative extent to which crime prevails in Man- 

There is, however, a licentiousness capable of cor- 
rupting the whole body of society, like an insidious 
disease, which eludes observation, yet is equally fatal 
in its effects. Criminal acts may be statistically 
classed the victims of the law may be enumerated 
but the number of those affected with the moral 
leprosy of vice cannot be exhibited with mathemati- 
cal precision. Sensuality has no record,* and the 
relaxation of social obligations may coexist with a 
half dormant, half restless impulse to rebel against 
all the preservative principles of society ; yet these 
chaotic elements may long smoulder, accompanied 
only by partial eruptions of turbulence or crime. 

In the absence of direct evidence, we are unwilling 
that any statements should rest on our personal tes- 
timony; but we again refer with confidence to that of 
an intelligent and impartial observer.f 

One other characteristic of the social body, in its 
present constitution, appears to us too remarkable 
and important to be entirely overlooked. 

Religion is the most distinguished and ennobling 

* No record exists by which the number of illegitimate births 
can be ascertained. Even this evidence would form a very im- 
perfect rule by which to judge of the comparative prevalence of 

t " Inquiry into the State of the Manufacturing Population." 
p. 24. Ridgway. 


feature of civil communities. Natural attributes of 
the human mind appear to ensure the culture of some 
form of worship ; and as society rises through its suc- 
cessive stages, these forms are progressively de- 
veloped, from the grossest observances of supersti- 
tion, until the truths and dictates of revelation assert 
their rightful supremacy. 

The absence of religious* feeling, the neglect of all 
religious ordinances, we conceive to afford substan- 
tive evidence of so great a moral degradation of the 
community, as generally to ensure a concomitant 
civic debasement. The social body cannot be con- 
structed like a machine, on abstract principles 
which merely include physical motions, and their 
numerical results in the production of wealth. The 
mutual relation of men is not merely dynamical, nor 
can the composition of their forces be subjected to a 
purely mathematical calculation. Political economy, 
though its object be to ascertain the means of in- 
creasing the wealth of nations, cannot accomplish its 
design, without at the same time regarding their 
happiness, and as its largest ingredient the cultivation 
of religion and morality. 

With unfeigned regret, we are therefore con- 
strained to add, that the standard of morality is ex- 
ceedingly debased, and that religious observances are 
neglected amongst the operative population of Man- 
chester. The bonds of domestic sympathy are too 
generally relaxed ; and as a consequence, the filial 
and paternal duties are uncultivated. The artizan 


has not time to cherish these feelings, by the familiar 
and grateful arts which are their constant food, and 
without which nourishment they perish. An apathy 
benumbs his spirit. Too frequently the father, en- 
joying perfect health and with ample opportunities 
of employment, is supported in idleness on the earn- 
ings of his oppressed children ; and on the other 
hand, when age and decrepitude cripple the energies 
of the parents, their adult children abandon them to 
the scanty maintenance derived from parochial relief. 

That religious observances are exceedingly neg- 
lected, we have had constant opportunities of as- 
certaining, in the performance of our duty as Phy- 
sician to the Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary, which 
frequently conducted us to the houses of the poor on 
Sunday. With rare exceptions, the adults of the 
vast population of 84,147 contained in Districts Nos. 
1, 2, 3, 4, spend Sunday either in supine sloth, in 
sensuality, or in listless inactivity. A certain por- 
tion only of the labouring classes enjoys even health- 
ful recreation on that day, and a very small number 
frequent the places of worship. 

Having enumerated so many causes of physical 
depression, perhaps the most direct proof of the ex- 
tent to which the effect coexists in natural alliance 
with poverty, may be derived from the records of 
the medical charities of the town. During the year 
preceding July, 1831 21,196 patients were treated 
at the Royal Infirmary 472 at the House of Re- 
covery 3163 at the Ardwick and Ancoats Dispen- 


sary, of (which subtracting one sixth as belonging to 
the township of Ardwick) 2636 were inhabitants of 
Manchester perhaps 2000 at the Workhouse Dis- 
pensary, and 1,500 at the Children's making a total 
of 28,804, without including the Lock Hospital and 
the Eye Institution. " If to this sum,"* says Mr. 
Roberton, engaged in making a similar calculation, 
" we were further to add the incomparably greater 
amount of all ranks visited or advised as private pa- 
tients by the whole body (not a small one) of profes- 
sional men ; those prescribed for by chemists and 
druggists, scarcely of inferior pretension ; and by 
herb doctors and quacks; those who swallow patent 
medicines ; and lastly the subjects of that ever 
flourishing branch domestic medicine ; we should 
be compelled to admit that not fewer, perhaps, than 
three fourths of the inhabitants of Manchester an- 
nually are, or fancy they are, under the necessity of 
submitting to medical treatment." 

Ingenious deductions, by Mr. Roberton, from 
facts contained in the records of the Lying-in Hos- 
pital of Manchester, prove, in a different manner, 
the extreme dependance of the poor, on the chari- 
table institutions of the town. The average annual 
number of births, (deduced from a comparison of the 
last four years,) attended by the officers of the 

* " Remarks on the Health of English Manufacturers, and on 
the need which exists for the Establishment of Convalescents' 
Retreats." By J. ROBERTON. 


Lying-in Charity, is four thousand three hundred ; 
and the number of births to the population may be 
assumed as one in twenty-eight inhabitants. This 
annual average of births, therefore, represents a po- 
pulation of 124,400, and assuming that of Manches- 
ter and the environs to be 230,000, more than one- 
half of its inhabitants are therefore either so destitute 
or so degraded, as to require the assistance of public 
charity, in bringing their offspring into the world. 

The children thus adopted by the public, are 
often neglected by their parents. The early age 
at which girls are admitted into the factories, pre- 
vents their acquiring much knowledge of domestic 
economy ; and even supposing them to have had 
accidental opportunities of making this acquisition, 
the extent to which women are employed in the 
mills, does not, even after marriage, permit the ge- 
neral application of its principles. The infant is 
the victim of the system ; it has not lived long, ere 
it is abandoned to the care of a hireling or neigh- 
bour, whilst its mother pursues her accustomed toil. 
Sometimes a little girl has the charge of the child, 
or even of two or three collected from neighbouring 
houses. Thus abandoned to one whose sympathies 
are not interested in its welfare, or whose time is 
too often also occupied in household drudgery, the 
child is ill-fed, dirty, ill-clothed, exposed to cold and 
neglect ; and, in consequence, more than one-half of 
the offspring of the poor, (as may be proved by the 
bills of mortality of the town,) die before they have 


completed their fifth year. The strongest survive ; 

but the same causes which destroy the weakest, 
impair the vigour of the more robust; and hence the 
children of our manufacturing population are pro- 
verbially pale and sallow, though not generally 
emaciated, nor the subjects of disease. We cannot 
subscribe to those exaggerated and unscientific ac- 
counts of the physical ailments to which they are 
liable, which have been lately revived with an eager- 
ness and haste equally unfriendly to taste and truth ; 
but we are convinced that the operation of these 
causes, continuing unchecked through successive ge- 
nerations, would tend to depress the health of the 
people ; and that consequent physical ills would 
accumulate in an unhappy progression. 

We have avoided alluding to evidence which is 
founded on general opinion, or depends merely on 
matters of perception ; and have chiefly availed our- 
selves of such as admitted of a statistical classifica- 
tion. We may, however, be permitted to add, that 
our own experience, confirmed by that of those mem- 
bers of our profession, on whose judgment we can 
rely with the greatest confidence, induces us to con- 
clude, that diseases assume a lower and more chronic 
type in Manchester, than in smaller towns and in 
agricultural districts ; and a residence in the Hospi- 
tals of Edinburgh, and practice in the Dispensaries 
amongst the most debased part of its inhabitants, 
enables us to affirm with confidence that the diseases 
occurring here admit of less active antiphlogistic or 



depletory treatment, than those incident to the de- 
graded population of the old town of that city. 

Frequent allusion has been made to the supposed 
rate of mortality in Manchester, as a standard by 
which the health of the manufacturing population 
may be ascertained. From the mortality of towns, 
however, their comparative health cannot be invari- 
ably deduced. There is a state of physical depression 
which does riot terminate in fatal organic changes, 
which, however, converts existence into a prolonged 
disease, and is not only compatible with life, but is 
proverbially protracted to an advanced senility. Even 
were this untrue, there exists no method of correctly 
ascertaining the average proportion of deaths in 
Manchester.* The imperfection of the registers is 
such, as to baffle the ingenuity of the most zealous 

Diseases, we have said, assume in this town a compa- 
ratively chronic type; and a general prevalence of such 
maladies is compatible with a low rate of mortality. 
Acute diseases (which are eminently fatal) prevail, 
on the contrary, in a population where the standard 
of health is high, and attack the most robust and 
plethoric. Thus, a high rate of mortality may often 
be observed in a community, where the number of 

* The best calculations on this subject are contained in Dr. 
Percival's Essays on the Bills of Mortality, and in that of the 
late Mr. Henry. Manchester Literary and Philosophical Tran- 


persons affected with disease is small ; and on .the 
other hand, general physical depression may concur 
with the prevalence of chronic maladies, and yet be 
unattended with a great proportion of deaths. We 
have elsewhere discussed the origin and shown the 
great prevalence of dyspepsia, gastralgia,* enteral- 
gia, and chronic bronchitis and phthisis,f in Man- 
chester; and this reference to the subject may there- 
fore be sufficient here. 

The preceding statements must, we fear, be re- 
ceived as valid evidence that many sources of physi- 
cal depression exist in Manchester. The Special 
Board of Health has, in the course of its inquiries, 
discovered that it possesses very limited means of re- 
moving the evils whose existence has been ascertained 
by the reports of the District Inspectors. More than a 
thousand houses have been whitewashed. Several ad- 
ditional gangs of scavengers have been employed; and 
the result of their operations is evident in the improved 
condition of the public thoroughfares of the town : 
but to repair and sewer the unpaved streets, courts, 
&c., and to remove the gross accumulations of filth 
which they contain, would entail upon the town an 
expenditure for which the fiscal authorities have been 
unwilling to become responsible. Letters have also 

* Second Number of the North of England Medical and Sur- 
gical Journal ; On Gastralgia and Enteralgia. 

t Third Number of the North of England Medical and Sur- 
gical Journal ; On Spinners' Phthisis. 


been addressed to the landlords of all houses reported 
to be out of repair, and of those in which the soughs 
required repair which were damp ill-ventilated 
or which had no privies, informing them of the de- 
fects reported, and requesting them to assist the 
Special Board in its efforts to ameliorate the physical 
condition of the poor, by remedying these evils. The 
disease of the body politic is not superficial, and can- 
not be cured, or even temporarily relieved, by any 
specific : its sources are unfortunately remote, and 
the measures necessary to the removal of its disorders 
include serious questions on which great difference of 
opinion prevails. 

Visiting Manchester, the metropolis of the com- 
mercial system, a stranger regards with wonder the 
ingenuity and comprehensive capacity, which, in the 
short space of half a century, have here established 
the staple manufacture of this kingdom. He beholds 
with astonishment the establishments of its merchants 
monuments of fertile genius and successful design : 
the masses of capital which have been accumulated 
by those who crowd upon its mart, and the restless 
but sagacious spirit which has made every part of the 
known world the scene of their enterprize. The sud- 
den creation of the mighty system of commercial or- 
ganization which covers this county, and stretches 
its arms to the most distant seas, attests the power 
and the dignity of man. Commerce, it appears to 
such a spectator, here gathers in her storehouses the 


productions of every clirne, that she may minister to 
the happiness of a favoured race. 

When he turns from the great capitalists, he con- 
templates the fearful strength only of that multitude 
of the labouring population, which lies like a slum- 
bering giant at their feet. He has heard of the 
turbulent riots of the people of machine breaking 
of the secret and sullen organization which has 
suddenly lit the torch of incendiarism, or well nigh 
uplifted the arm of rebellion in the land. He re- 
members that political desperadoes have ever loved 
to tempt this population to the hazards of the 
swindling game of revolution, and have scarcely 
failed. In the midst of so much opulence, however, 
he has disbelieved the cry of need. 

Believing that the natural tendency of unrestricted 
commerce, is to develop the energies of society, to 
increase the comforts and luxuries of life, and to 
elevate the physical condition of every member of the 
social body, we have exposed, with a faithful, though 
a friendly hand, the condition of the lower orders 
connected with the manufactures of this town, be- 
cause we conceive that the evils affecting them 
result from foreign and accidental causes. A sys- 
tem, which promotes the advance of civilization, 
and diffuses it over the world which promises to 
maintain the peace of nations, by establishing a 
permanent international law, founded on the benefits 
of commercial association, cannot be inconsistent 
with the happiness of the great mass of the people. 


There are men who believe that the labouring classes 
are condemned for ever, by an inexorable fate, to 
the unmitigated curse of toil, scarcely rewarded by 
the bare necessaries of existence, and often visited 
by the horrors of hunger and disease that the he- 
ritage of ignorance, labour, and misery is entailed 
upon them as an eternal doom. Such an opinion 
might appear to receive a gloomy confirmation, were 
we content with the evidence of fact, derived only 
from the history of uncivilized races, and of feudal 
institutions. No modern Rousseau now rhapsodises 
on the happiness of the state of nature. Moral and 
physical degradation are inseparable from barbarism. 
The unsheltered, naked savage, starving on food 
common to the denizens of the wilderness, never 
knew the comforts contained in the most wretched 
cabin of our poor. 

Civilization, to which feudality is inimical, but 
which is most powerfully promoted by commerce, 
surrounds man with innumerable inventions. It has 
thus a constant tendency to multiply, without limit, 
the comforts of existence, and that by an amount of 
labour, at all times undergoing an indefinite dimi- 
nution. It continually expands the sphere of his 
relations, from a dependance on his own limited 
resources, until it has combined into one mighty 
league, alike the members of communities, and the 
powers of the most distant regions. The cultivation 
of the faculties, the extension of knowledge, the im- 
provement of the arts, enable man to extend his 


dominion over matter, and to minister, not merely 
to all the exigencies, but to the capricious tastes and 
the imaginary appetites of his nature. When, there- 
fore, every zone has contributed its most precious 
stores science has revealed her secret laws genius 
has applied the mightiest powers of nature to fa- 
miliar use, making matter the patient and silent 
slave of the will of man, if want prey upon the 
heart of the people, some accidental barrier must 
exist, arresting their natural and rightful supply. 

The evils affecting the working classes, so far 
from being the necessary results of the commercial 
system, furnish evidence of a disease which impairs 
its energies, if it does not threaten its vitality. 

The increase of the manufacturing establishments, 
and the consequent colonization of the district, have 
been exceedingly more rapid than the growth of 
its civic institutions. The eager antagonization of 
commercial enterprize, has absorbed the attention, 
and concentrated the energies of every member of 
the community. In this strife, the remote influence 
of arrangements has sometimes been neglected, not 
from the want of humanity, but from the pressure 
of occupation, and the deficiency of time. Thus, 
some years ago, the internal arrangements of mills 
(now so much improved) as regarded temperature, 
ventilation, cleanliness, and the proper separation of 
the sexes, &c., were such as to be extremely objec- 
tionable. The same cause has, we think, chiefly 
occasioned the want of police regulations, to prevent 


the gross neglect of the streets and houses of the 

The great and sudden fluctuations to which trade 
is liable, are often the sources of severe embarrass- 
ment. Sometimes the demand for labour diminishes, 
and its price consequently falls in a corresponding 
ratio. On the other hand, the existing population 
has often been totally inadequate to the required 
production ; and capitalists have eagerly invited a 
supply of labour from distant counties, and the sister 
kingdom. The colonization of the Irish was thus 
first encouraged; and has proved one chief source of 
the demoralization, and consequent physical depres- 
sion of the people. 

The effects of this immigration, even when re- 
garded as a simple economical question, do not 
merely include an equation of the comparative 
cheapness of labour ; its influence on civilization and 
morals, as they tend to affect the production of 
wealth, cannot be neglected. 

In proof of this, it may suffice to present a pic- 
ture of the natural progress of barbarous habits. 
Want of cleanliness, of forethought, and economy, 
are found in almost invariable alliance with dissipa- 
tion, reckless habits, and disease. The population 
gradually becomes physically less efficient as the pro- 
ducers of wealth morally so from idleness politi- 
cally worthless as having few desires to satisfy, and 
noxious as dissipators of capital accumulated. Were 
such manners to prevail, the horrors of pauperism 


would accumulate. A debilitated, emasculated race 
would be rapidly multiplied. Morality would afford 
no check to the increase of the population : crime 
and disease would be its only obstacles the licen- 
tiousness which indulges its capricious appetite, till 
it exhausts its power and the disease which, at the 
same moment, punishes crime, and sweeps away a 
hecatomb of its victims. A dense mass, impotent 
alike of great moral or physical efforts, would accu- 
mulate ; children would be born to parents incapable 
of obtaining the necessaries of life, who would thus 
acquire, through the mistaken humanity of the law, 
a new claim for support from the property of the 
public. They would drag on an unhappy existence, 
vibrating between the pangs of hunger and the de- 
lirium of dissipation alternately exhausted by severe 
and oppressive toil, or enervated by supine sloth. 
Destitution would now prey on their strength, and 
then the short madness of debauchery would con- 
summate its ruin. Crime which banishes or destroys 
its victims, and disease and death, are severe but 
brief natural remedies, which prevent the unlimited 
accumulation of the horrors of pauperism. Even 
war and pestilence, when regarded as affecting 
a population thus demoralized, and politically and 
physically debased, seem like storms which sweep 
from the atmosphere the noxious vapours whose 
stagnation threatens man with death. 

Morality is therefore worthy of the attention of 
the economist, even when considered as simply minis- 



taring to the production of wealth. Civilization 
creates artificial wants, introduces economy, and cul- 
tivates the moral and physical capabilities of society. 
Hence the introduction of an uncivilized race does 
not tend even primarily to increase the power of pro- 
ducing wealth, in a ratio by any means commensu- 
rate with the cheapness of its labour, and may 
ultimately retard the increase of the fund for the 
maintenance of that labour. Such a race is useful 
only as a mass of animal organization, which con- 
sumes the smallest amount of wages. The low price 
of the labour of such people depends, however, on 
the paucity of their wants, and their savage habits. 
When they assist the production of wealth, therefore, 
their barbarous habits and consequent moral depres- 
sion must form a part of the equation. They are 
only necessary to a state of commerce inconsistent 
with such a reward for labour, as is calculated to 
maintain the standard of civilization. A few years 
pass, and they become burdens to a community 
whose morals and physical power they have depressed; 
and dissipate wealth which they did not accumulate. 
Notwithstanding the evils attendant upon this system, 
we believe that, so long as the injurious and unjust 
monopolies and restrictions on trade are continued, 
the commercial position of the country cannot 
be maintained, unless the free importation of the 
cheapest labour be permitted ; and we moreover be- 
lieve that by thus increasing our powers of cheap 
production and foreign competition, the Irish have 


as yet (though at the lamentable expense of th 
morals and happiness of the people) increased the 
fund for the maintenance of labour, in a greater 
ratio than they have dissipated it. 

Conscious of the evils resulting from this immigra- 
tion, we nevertheless tremble at the thought of ap- 
plying unmodified poor laws to Ireland. In England 
the system of parochial relief has a most prejudicial 
influence, in chaining redundant labour to a narrow 
locality, and thus aggravating the pressure of partial 
ills, and in relaxing those bonds of the social con- 
stitution, industry, forethought, and charity.* Much 
less could the habits of the Irish be corrected by a 
parliamentary enactment : and to attempt the re- 
moval of their misery, by the constant supply of their 
wants, would be to offer direct encouragement to 
idleness, improvidence, and dissipation. It would 
ultimately render every individual dependant on the 
State, and change Ireland into a vast infirmary, di- 
vided into as many wards as there are parishes, 
whose endowment would swallow up the entire rental 
of the country. Such a measure, says Mr. Senior, 
would f" divide Ireland into as many distinct coun- 
tries as there are parishes, each peopled by a popula- 
tion ascriptaglebce; multiplying without forethought ; 

* Chalmers's " Christian and Civic Economy of Large Towns." 
" Speech before the General Assembly." "Political Economy." 
P. 398, &c. &c. 

t Letter to Lord Howick on a Legal Provision for the Irish 
Poor, &c., &c., p. 33. 


impelled to labour principally by the fear of punish- 
ment ; drawing allowance for their children, and 
throwing their parents on the parish ; considering 
wages not a matter of contract but of right ; attri- 
buting every evil to the injustice of their superiors ; 
and, when their own idleness or improvidence has oc- 
casioned a fall of wages, avenging it by firing the 
dwellings, maiming the cattle, or murdering the 
persons of the landlords and overseers ; combining, in 
short, the insubordination of the freeman with the 
sloth and recklessness of the slave." 

We believe, however, that an impost on the rental 
of Ireland, might be applied with advantage in 
employing its redundant labour in great public 
works such as draining bogs, making public roads, 
canals, harbours, &c., by which the entire available 
capital of the country would be increased, and the 
people would be trained in industrious habits, and 
more civilized manners. England would then cease 
to be, to the same extent as at present, the recepta- 
cle of the most demoralized and worthless hordes of 
the sister country. 

The Irish, who were invited to colonize the coun- 
try, at a period when the demand for labour was 
greater than the native population could supply, 
have suffered more than any other class from the 
introduction of the power-loom. The state of tran- 
sition in employment consequent on a new invention, 
(by which the powers of production are increased, 
its cost diminished, and the demand for a peculiar 


kind of labour almost extinguished,) will always be 
followed by an embarrassment, whose pressure and 
duration will be determined cceteris paribus, by the 
extent of the market for manufactures. If by the 
want of commercial treaties by the imposition of 
injudicious duties on foreign produce, which provoke 
jealous retaliation the existence of arbitrary re- 
strictions and monopolies the extent of the market 
for manufactures be diminished, the demand for la- 
bour will be confined within the same limits. A 
new invention will thus be robbed of half its re- 
wards, since we deprive other nations of the power 
of buying our manufactures, by refusing to accept 
what they offer in exchange. We depress the spirit 
of their enterprize; and we discourage our own. 
The relations of commerce are those of unlimited 
reciprocity not of narrow and bigoted exclusion. 
We encourage genius and industry in proportion as 
we permit them to receive their reward in the riches 
of every clime. We dam up not only the well- 
spring of our own wealth and happiness, but of that 
of other nations, when we refuse to barter the 
results of the ingenuity and perseverance of our 
artizans, for the products of the bounty of other 
climates, or the arts and genius of other people. 
Unrestricted commerce, on the other hand, would 
rapidly promote the advance of civilization, by cul- 
tivating the physical and mental power of individu- 
als and nations, to multiply the amount of natural 
products, and to create those artificial staple com- 


modities, by the barter of which they acquire the 
riches of other regions. Every new invention in 
agriculture or manufactures every improvement in 
the powers of transition, would enable its posses- 
sors, by the same amount of labour, to obtain a 
greater quantity of foreign products in exchange. 
The labour of man would be constantly to an inde- 
finite extent diminished,* whilst its reward would 
be, at the same time, perpetually increased. Human 
power would be employed " in its noblest occupa- 
tion, that of giving a direction to the mere physical 
power which it had conquered."f 

But under a restrictive system, the demand for 
the results of labour is limited, not by the wants of 
the whole world, but of the market from which com- 
modities are received in exchange. Even then, as 
civilization multiplies the desires, and stimulates the 
industry and ingenuity of man, the quantity of pro- 
ducts permitted to be bartered for our manufactures 
has a constant tendency to increase. Unfortunately, 
however, the restrictions which fetter commerce are 
so numerous, and the monopolies which exclude free 
trade from the fairest portions of the earth are so ex- 

* Observations on the Influence of Machinery upon the Work- 
ing Classes of the Community, By John Kennedy, Esq., Memoirs 
of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, vol. v. 
second series. also An Essay on the General Principles which 
regulate the Application of Machinery to Manufactures and 
Mechanical Arts, By Charles Babbage, Esq. Encyclopaedia Me- 
tropolitana, part xxii. 

t Results of Machinery, p. 193. 


tensive, as to render the progressive increase in the 
demand for the results of our labour and capital slow. 
Population, nevertheless, increases the supply of 
labour in at least as great a ratio as the demand 
existing under a restrictive system. Every invention, 
therefore, which diminishes the quantity of labour 
necessary to produce the objects of barter, lessens its 
price, and excludes, for an indefinite period, a 
great part of the population from employment. 
By this system the profits of capital are increased, 
though not in the same ratio as the wages of labour 
are for a time diminished. But, were the restrictions 
abolished, each new invention would not only enable 
man to purchase, by a smaller amount of labour, a 
larger portion of foreign products, but would, by 
these means, powerfully stimulate the genius and in- 
dustry of other nations, whose demand for our manu- 
factures would increase in a ratio at least equal to 
their accumulation. In other words, improvements 
in machinery diminish the cost of production ; but if 
the demand for manufactures be limited by arbitrary 
enactments, the increased employment which would 
also be their natural and inevitable result, is pre- 
vented, until commerce is able, in some other way, 
to compensate for the evils of injudicious legislation. 
We have capital and labour but to obtain the 
greatest amount of commercial advantages, we must 
also have an unlimited power of exchange. 

We believe, therefore, that chiefly to this cause must 
be attributed the combined misery of severe laboi 


and want entailed on that wretched but extensive 
class, the hand-loom weavers of the cotton trade. 

Were an unlimited exchange permitted to com- 
merce, the existence of redundant labour would be 
an evil of brief duration, rarely experienced. The 
unpopular, but alas, too necessary proposals of 
emigration would no longer be agitated. The in- 
genuity and industry of the people would draw from 
the whole world a tribute more than adequate to 
supply the ever increasing demands of a civilized 

This unjust system is not merely accompanied by 
economical evils affecting the accumulation and 
distribution of wealth. The moral and physical 
depression of the people, which we deplore, may be 
traced to this fruitful source. Commerce fettered 
with monopolies and restrictions struggles beneath 
the load of an enormous taxation. " The scarcity 
and dearness of food " in the words of the Quarterly 
Review* " indirectly, but severely, affect most of the 
superior classes ; the consumers of other commodities, 
through their diminished production ; capitalists, 
through the consequent narrowing of their market ; 
and society at large by the burden it must endure of 
supporting the unemployed hands, and the insecurity 
of property which results from the near approach to 
destitution of a large proportion of its members." 
Industry, invention, the most subtle sagacity, and 
the most daring enterprize appear at length, almost 

* Quarterly Review, No. xci. p. 353. 


baffled by the difficulties they encounter. The pro- 
fits of capital are reduced to the most meager at- 
tenuation the rapidity of production, of transmis- 
sion and return, appear to have reached their utmost 
limit. Injudicious duties on foreign produce have 
provoked retaliation, and the manufactures of other 
countries are supported by artificial expedients in 
rivalry with our own. The difficulty of changing 
the system is every day increased, until, ere long, it 
may become a serious question with other countries, 
whether the advantages to be derived from free trade 
can compensate for the sacrifice of the capital em- 
barked in their commercial establishments. The cot- 
ton manufacture is rapidly spreading all over the 
continent, and particularly in Switzerland and 
France ; and America threatens us with a more for- 
midable competition. 

Under these circumstances, every part of the sys- 
tem appears necessary to the preservation of the 
whole. The profits of trade will not allow a greater 
remuneration for labour, and competition even 
threatens to reduce its price. Whatever time is 
subtracted from the hours of labour must be accom- 
panied with an equivalent deduction from its rewards, 
and we fear that the condition of the working classes 
cannot be much improved, until the burdens and 
restrictions of the commercial system are abolished. 

Those political speculators who propose a serious 
reduction* of the hours of labour, unpreceded by 

* The effect of one of these schemes is thus correctly described 
in an able and perspicuous pamphlet lately published, entitled 



the relief of commercial burdens, and unaccompanied 
by the introduction of a general system of education, 
appear to us deluded by a theoretical chimera. 
The time thus bestowed would be wasted or 
misused would be spent in sloth, in dissipation, or 
in listening with eager and ignorant wonder to the 
declamatory dogmatism of political demagogues. 
Diseases are no longer instantly cured by incanta- 
tions, charms, and specifics ; and the distempers of 
society cannot be suddenly dissipated by the nostrums 
of political quacks. To retrace the upward path 
from evil and misery is difficult. Health is only ac- 
quired after disease, by passing through slow and 
painful stages. Neither can the evils which affect 
the operative population be instantly relieved by the 
exhibition of any single notable remedy. 

A general and effective system of education must 

" A Letter to Lord Althorp in Defence of the Cotton Factories of 
Lancashire, By Holland Hoole." 

" If Mr. Sadler's bill becomes a law, the masters will have the 
choice of two evils. Either they must reduce the hours of labour 
to the limit proposed to be fixed for children, (fifty eight hours 
per week) or they must place their establishments without the 
pale of this enactment, by discharging all persons under eighteen 
years from their factories." 

" In the former case a reduction of the wages of all persons em- 
ployed, whether children or adults, corresponding with the reduc- 
tion of the time of labour must inevitably take place." " Not a 
few of the master cotton spinners have determined to adopt the 
other course above mentioned, namely, to discharge from their 
employment all the hands under eighteen years of age, as soon 
as the proposed law comes into operation." 


be devised a more intimate and cordial association 
must be cultivated between the capitalist and those 
in his employ the poor must be instructed in habits 
of forethought and economy ; and, in combination 
with these great and general efforts to ameliorate 
their condition, when the restrictions of commerce 
have been abolished, a reduction in the hours of 
labour will tend to elevate the moral and physical 
condition of the people. 

We are desirous of adding a few observations on 
each of these measures. Ere the moral and physical 
condition of the operative can be much elevated, a 
general system of education must be introduced, not 
confined to the mere elementary rudiments of know- 
ledge. He should be instructed in the nature of his 
domestic and social relations, of his political position 
in society, and of the moral and religious duties ap- 
propriate to it.* His education should comprise 
such branches of general knowledge as might prove 
sources of rational amusement, and a familiar expo- 
sition of such portions of the exact sciences, as are 
connected with his occupation. 

" In the f highest questions there is always a point 
of view, in which they may be presented to all the 

* Chalmers on Political Economy, p. 26. also p. 71, 
" Nothing will more effectually demonstrate the supremacy of the 
moral over the physical, in the system of human affairs, than 
will the ameliorated condition coming in the train of ameliorated 
character, after the tried impotency of all other expedients." 

f Madame de Stael. 


world.'' " The great * principles of that science 
which is generally known by the name of ' Political 
Economy/ ought certainly not to be sealed to the un- 
derstanding of those who are chiefly affected by the 
operation of those principles those, namely, who 
obtain a living by their labour. Matters affecting 
the interests of every human being, and involving a 
variety of facts having a relation to the condition of 
mankind in every age and country, are not necessa- 
rily, as has been supposed, dry and difficult to un- 
derstand, and consequently only to be approached 
by systematic students. 

"If we f would really improve the condition of the 
lower classes if we would give them better habits, 
as well as make them better workmen we ought to 
endeavour to make them acquainted with the princi- 
ples that must determine their condition in life. The 
poor ought to be taught, that they are in a great 
measure the architects of their own fortune ; that 
what others can do for them is trifling indeed, com- 
pared with what they can do for themselves ; that 
they are infinitely more interested in the preservation 
of the public tranquillity than any other class of 
society ; that mechanical inventions and discoveries 
are always supremely advantageous to them ; and 
that their real interests can only be effectually pro- 

* Working Man's Companion, Capital and Labour, 
f McCulloch "On the Rise, Progress, and Present State of 
the British Cotton Manufacture," Edinburgh Review, No. XCK 


moted by their displaying greater prudence and fore- 

Much good * would result from a more general 
and_cordial association of the higher and lower orders, ^tf J-] 
In Liverpool a charitable society exists denominated 
the " Provident," whose members include a great 
number of the most influential inhabitants. The 
town is subdivided into numerous districts, the in- 
spection and care of each of which is committed 
to one or two members of the association. They 
visit the people in their houses sympathize with 
their distresses, and minister to the wants of the 
necessitous ; but above all, they acquire, by their 
charity, the right of inquiring into their arrangements 
of instructing them in domestic economy of 
recommending sobriety, cleanliness, forethought, and 

Every capitalist might contribute much to the hap- 
piness of those in his employ, by a similar exercise 
of enlightened charity. He might establish provident 
associations and libraries amongst his people. Clean- 
liness, and a proper attention to clothing and dietf 
might be enforced. He has frequent opportunities 
of discouraging the vicious, and of admonishing the 
improvident. By visiting the houses of the operatives, 
he might advise the multiplication of household com- 

* An Address to the Higher Classes on the present State of 
Feeling among the Working Classes. 

t True Theory of Rent, By T. Perronnet Thomson, Esq. 


forts and the culture of the domestic sympathies. 
Principle and interest admonish him to receive none 
into his employ, unless they can produce the most 
satisfactory attestations to their character. 

Above all he should provide instruction for the 
children of his workpeople : he should stimulate the 
appetite for useful knowledge, and supply it with 
appropriate food. 

Happily, the effect of such a system is not left to 
conjecture. In large towns serious obstacles oppose 
its introduction ; but in Manchester more than one 
enlightened capitalist confesses its importance, and 
has made preparations for its adoption. In the 
country, the facilities are greater ; and many estab- 
lishments might be indicated, which exhibit the results 
of combined benevolence and intelligence. One ex- 
ample may suffice. 

Twelve hundred persons are employed in the fac- 
tories of Mr. Thomas Ashton, of Hyde. This gen- 
tleman has erected commodious dwellings for his 
workpeople, with each of which he has connected 
every convenience that can minister to comfort. He 
resides in the immediate vicinity, and has frequent 
opportunities of maintaining a cordial association 
with his operatives. Their houses are well furnished, 
clean, and their tenants exhibit every indication of 
health and happiness. Mr. Ashton has also built a 
school, where 640 children, chiefly belonging to his 
establishment, are instructed on Sunday, in reading, 
writing, arithmetic, c. A library, connected with 


this school, is eagerly resorted to, and the people 
frequently read after the hours of labour have ex- 
pired. An infant school is, during the week, attended 
by 280 children, and in the evenings others are in- 
structed by masters selected for the purpose. The 
factories themselves are certainly excellent examples 
of the cleanliness and order which may be attained, 
by a systematic and persevering attention to the 
habits of the artizans. 

The effects of such enlightened benevolence may 
be, to a certain extent, exhibited by statistical state- 
ments. The population, before the introduction of 
machinery, chiefly consisted of colliers, hatters, and 
weavers. Machinery was introduced in 1801, and 
the following table exhibits its consequences in the 
augmentation of the value of property, the diminution 
of poor rates, and the rapid increase of the amount 
assessed for the repairs of the highway, during a 
period, in which the population of the township in- 
creased from 830 to 7138. 


Township of Hyde, in the Parish of Stockport, in the County of Chester. 


value of pro- 
perty asses- 
sable to the 
Poor's Rate 

Sums assessed 
for the Relief of 
the Poor. 

Sums assessed for 
the Repairs of the 



. a. 

. s. d. 

. *. d. 


693 10 

533 .12 

2 11 6 


Machinery introduced. 



394 19 4 

51 19 5 



336 8 

52 3 Of 


697 10 

325 10 

52 5 91 



385 17 4 

100 6 lli 



339 6 

110 12 ll 



276 6 8 

172 7 9i 


898 10 

223 1 4 

177 6 10 



286 16 8 

152 17 9 



345 10 

146 18 3 


945 10 

417 6 4 

199 19 3$ 



975 15 

471 8 4 

168 11 1 

Riots, Machinery bro- 



687 7 8 

148 18 Hi 

ken in various places. 



630 6 8 

144 18 8| 

Power Looms intro- 


1029 15 

508 18 

99 9 3i 



1079 5 

390 2 

156 9 5i 


1109 15 

502 3 6 

150 2 8$ 



421 2 

171 15 9 



431 6 

201 8 7i 



355 4 8 

229 11 7 


1371 15 

274 7 

265 1 1 


New County Rate 


1429 5 
2093 10 

435 10 6 

479 8 
348 17 
398 11 
438 7 6 

440 12 Of 
454 8 8f 
506 2 2 
524 19 3| 
573 10 71 

made: from this time 
the County Rate, toge- 
ther with the salary of 
the serving officer, aver- 
age 200. per annum. 


2354 15 

479 6 3 

598 10 5 


2533 ' 

502 7 4 

732 4 3i 



790 11 9 

681 19 6 

Vestry built this year. 


2727 o 

549 16 

578 10 1 



*834 18 9 

359 5 5^ 




13994 13 7 

8405 19 7 


sure. . 

451 10 

271 7 2 

* A considerable balance in the Overseer's hands. 


This table exhibits a cheering proof of the advan- 
tages which may be derived from the commercial 
system, under judicious management. We feel much 
confidence in inferring that where so little pauperism 
exists, the taint of vice has not deeply infected the 
population, and concerning their health we can speak 
from personal observation. The rate of mortality, 
from statements* with which Mr. Ashton has politely 

*Minute of Deaths among the Spinners, Piecers, and Dressers, 
employed at the works of Mr. Thomas Ashton, in Hyde, from 
1819 to 1832, 13 years, viz .SPINNERS. Rd. Robinson, James 
Seville, David Cordingly, Eli Taylor. PIECERS. Jas. Rowbotham, 
Wm. Green. DRESSERS. John Cocker, Samuel Broadhurst. 

There are employed at these works 61 rovers and spinners, 
120 piecers, and 38 dressers : total 219 ; among whom there are 
at this time 10 spinners whose ages are respectively from forty up 
to fifty six years ; and among the dressers there are 12 whose ages 
are equal to that of the above spinners. We have no orphans at 
this place, neither have we any family receiving parochial relief ; 
nor can we recollect the time when there was any such. The 
different clubs or sick lists among the spinners, dressers, over- 
lookers and mechanics employed here, allow ten or twelve shillings 
per week to the members during sickness, and from six to eight 
pounds to a funeral ; which applies also to the member's wife, and, 
in some cases, one half or one fourth to the funeral of a child. 
The greatest amount of contributions to these funds have in no 
one year exceeded five shillings and sixpence from each member. 

The weavers (chiefly young women) have also a funeral club, 
the contributions to which are fourpence per member to each 
funeral. In the above period of thirteen years there have hap- 
pened among them only forty funerals. 

Total number of persons employed, twelve hundred, who main- 
tain about two thousand. JOSEPH TINKER, Book-keeper. 
Hyde, 27tb March, 1832. K 


furnished us, appears to be exceedingly low. In 
thirteen years (during the first six of which, the num- 
ber of rovers, spinners, piecers and dressers was 
one hundred, and during the last seven, above two 
hundred,) only eight deaths occurred, though the 
same persons were, with rare exceptions, employed 
during the whole period. Supposing, for the sake 
of convenience, that the deaths were nine ; then by 
ascribing three to the first six years, and six to the 
last seven, the mortality during the former period 
was one in 200, and during the latter one in 233. 
The number of weavers during the first six years 
was 200, and during the last seven 400, and in this 
body of workmen 40 deaths occurred in thirteen 
years. By ascribing thirteen of these deaths to the 
first six years, and twenty seven to the last seven, 
the mortality, during the former period, was one in 
92, and during the latter, 1 in 103. 

These facts indicate that the present hours of 
labour do not injure the health of a population, 
otherwise favourably situated, but that, when evil re- 
sults ensue, they must chiefly be ascribed to the 
combination of this with other causes of moral and 
^physical depression. 

Capitalists, whose establishments are situated in 
the country, enjoy many opportunities of controling 
the habits and ministering to the comforts of those 
in their employ, which cannot exist in a large manu- 
facturing town. In the former, the land in the 
vicinity is generally the property of the manufacturer, 

and upon this he may build commodious houses, and 
surround the operative with all the conveniences and 
attractions of a home. In the town, the land is often 
in the possession of non-resident proprietors, anxious 
only to obtain the largest amount of chief rent. It 
is therefore let in separate lots to avaricious specula- 
tors, who (unrestrained by any general enactment, 
or special police regulation) build, without plan, 
wretched abodes in confused groups, intersected by 
narrow, unpaved or undrained streets and courts. 
By this disgraceful system the moral and physical con- 
dition of the poor undergoes an inevitable depression. 
In Manchester *" it is much to be regretted that 
the surveyors of highways, or some other body of 
gentlemen specially appointed, were not, forty years 
ago, invested with authority to regulate the laying 
out of building-land within the precincts of the town, 
and to enforce the observance of certain conditions, 
on the part of the owners and lessees of such pro- 
perty." Private rights ought not to be exercised so 
as to produce a public injury. The law, which 
describes and punishes offences against the person 
and property of the subject, should extend its author- 
ity by establishing a social code, (in which the rights 
of communities should be protected from the assaults 
of partial interests. By exercising its functions in 
the former case, it does not wantonly interfere with 

* Dr. Lyon on the Medical Topography and Statistics of 
Manchester. North of England Medical and Surgical Journal, 
vol. i. page 17. 


the liberty of the subject, nor in the latter, would it 
violate the reverence due to the sacred security of 

The powers obtained by the recent changes in 
the police act of Manchester are retrospective, and 
exclusively refer to the removal of existing evils : their 
application must also necessarily be slow. We con- 
ceive that special police regulations should be framed 
for the purpose of preventing the recurrence of that 
gross neglect of decency and violation of order, whose 
effects we have described. 

Streets should be built according to plans deter- 
mined (after a conference with the owners) by a body 
of commissioners, specially elected for the purpose 
their width should bear a certain relation to the size 
and elevation of the houses erected. Landlords should 
be compelled, on the erection of any house, to pro- 
vide sufficient means of drainage, and each to pave his 
respective area of the street. Each habitation should 
be provided with a due receptacle for every kind of 
refuse, and the owner should be obliged to white- 
wash the house, at least once every year. Inspectors 
of the state of houses should be appointed ; and the 
repair of all those, reported to be in a state incon- 
sistent with the health of the inhabitants, should be 
enforced at the expense of the landlords. If the 
rents of houses are not sufficient to remunerate the 
owners for this repair, their situation must in general 
be such, or their dilapidation so extreme, as to ren- 
der them so undesirable to the comfort, or so preju- 


dicial to the health of the tenants, that they ought 
no longer to be inhabited. 

Sources of physical depression, arising from the 
neglect of these arrangements, abound to such an 
extent in Manchester, that it has been sagaciously 
suggested that some powerful counteracting causes 
must also be in operation, or we should otherwise 
frequently be subjected to the visitation of fatal 
epidemic diseases. What all those causes may be it 
would perhaps be vain to speculate, but it might 
be demonstrated that the establishment of the 
House of Recovery has had a most salutary influ- 
ence in checking the spread of typhus fever. 

Distrust of the capitalists has long been sown in 
the minds of the working classes separation has 
succeeded to suspicion, and many causes have tended 
to widen the gulph over which the golden chain of 
charity too seldom extends. We would not have 
this so. The contest, thus engendered, too often 
assumes an appalling aspect. Capital is but accu- 
mulated labour : their strife is unnatural. Greed 
does not become the opulent ; nor does turbulence 
the poor. The general combinations * of workmen 
to protect the price of labour are ultimately des- 
tined to have a beneficial influence on trade, by 
the destruction of partial monopolies and petty op- 
pressions, but in these contests the poisonous shafts 
of personal malice should not be launched ; much 

* In a pamphlet entitled "Combinations of Trades." 


less, should the struggle issue in the barbarous des- 
truction of property, or in daring assaults on the 
liberty of the subject. 

The tendency to these excesses would be much 
diminished, did a cordial sympathy unite the higher 
with the lower classes of society. ! The intelligence 
of the former should be the fountain whence this 
should flow. If the results of labour be solely re- 
garded, in the connexion of the capitalist with those 
in his employ, the first step is taken towards treating 
them as a mere animal power necessary to the 
mechanical processes of manufacture. This is a heart- 
less, if not a degrading association. The contract 
for the rewards of labour conducted on these princi- 
ples issues in suspicion, if not in rancorous animosity. 

The operative population constitutes one of the 
most important elements of society, and when nu- 
merically considered, the magnitude of its interests 
and the extent of its power assume such vast propor- 
tions, that the folly which neglects them is allied to 
madness. If the higher classes are unwilling to diffuse 
intelligence among the lower, those exist who are 
ever ready to take advantage of their ignorance ; if 
they will not seek their confidence, others will excite 
their distrust ; if they will not endeavour to promote 
domestic comfort, virtue, and knowledge among 
them, their misery, vice, and prejudice will prove 
volcanic elements, by whose explosive violence the 
structure of society may be destroyed. 


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Kay-Shuttleworth, (Sir) 
James Philips 

The moral and physical 
condition of the working 
classes employed in the 
cotton manufacture in