Copyright
Mary Danvers (Brinton) Stocks.

The industrial state; a social and economic history of England online

. (page 1 of 21)
Online LibraryMary Danvers (Brinton) StocksThe industrial state; a social and economic history of England → online text (page 1 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


THE INDUSTRIAL STATE



THE

INDUSTRIAL STATE

A SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC HISTORY
OF ENGLAND



BY

M. D. STOCKS, B.Sc.(Econ.)

FORMERLY LECTURER IN ECONOMICS AT KING'S COLLEGE FOR
WOMEN (UNIVERSITY OF LONDON)




LONDON AND GLASGOW
COLLINS' CLEAR-TYPE PRESS



Continuation JHanuals

Consulting Editor: SIR WILLIAM ASHLEY, Ph.D.,
Vice-Principal of the University of
Birmingham.

General Editor: BERNARD L. MANNING, M.A.,
Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge.

i



GENERAL INTRODUCTION

THE establishment by the State of a system of
compulsory 'continuation' of education beyond the
stage reached in elementary schools is a step whose
significance the country has hardly begun to realise.
Continuation schooling is distinguished alike from
primary and secondary by the immensely important
fact that it is intended for young citizens who are at
the same time earning their livelihood. This in some
ways is bound to have, and in others it ought to have,
a most far-reaching effect on the character of the
education provided. Compulsion of those who are no
longer young children is sure to break down in a
democracy unless they themselves can be really and
continuously interested. Guidance and advice there
must be on the one side; but on the other there must
be a degree of freedom of choice such as has never
before been furnished by educational machinery.
This will be true from the first, even while the limit
of compulsion is left at the age of sixteen; it will be
far more true when the age is raised to eighteen. To
secure the willing attendance of students the one
thing essential will be to persuade them that the
courses of instruction have some actual bearing upon
life. This does not mean that they need all be obviously
utilitarian 'bread and butter studies' : though we
can hardly imagine a time when such studies will not

5



6 GENERAL INTRODUCTION

form a large part of the educational demand, and a
quite necessary part. But men and women live not
'by bread alone' : they live also, and in the noblest
sense, 'by admiration, hope and love.' To awaken
that admiration, hope and love for the best things,
to furnish nourishment upon which it can feed, is the
the high function to which the Continuation School
is called : without priggishness, let us hope, but also
clear-sightedly and sincerely.

The series of books of which the present volume
forms one proposes to touch one part only of life
the economic. ' Only ' is added as a caution not always
superfluous : yet of course no one can fail to recognise
how fundamental for individuals and for society
are the ways in which they provide for themselves
their 'revenue or subsistence.' And so the books of
this series will range from works which frankly aim
at providing the definite knowledge which young
men and women will need in commercial occupations
to others which set before them the general structure
of contemporary economic life and the course of
development by which industrial conditions have
come to be what they are. And concerning these
latter this much must be added. Just about a century
ago, Political Economy entered into a phase which,
in effect and for the great body of the people, was
profoundly pessimistic. It taught, or was understood
to teach, that industrial conditions were brought
about by 'laws' as independent of individual human
aspirations as the law of gravity. That phase has
passed away. It is true that we see now that human
character and therefore social organisation are both
the results of age-long evolution; and that there are



GENERAL INTRODUCTION 7

deep-seated forces which it would be disastrous to
disregard. But even the most circumspect scientific
observers now concede that, within limits far wider
than was supposed a hundred years ago, mankind
is master of its fate. And these books are intended
for those to whom the call of citizenship does not
come in vain; those who want so to live and work
as to preserve the gains of civilisation, and yet to
help the world, and their country as nearest to them,
to a better future.

WILLIAM ASHLEY.
May Day, 1920.



THIS volume, by a competent historian, gives an
outline of the evolution of the industrial world in the
midst of which we live, from the simpler and very
different conditions of earlier centuries. It will serve
three, purposes. It will widen and enrich our know-
ledge of the past; it will give us a more realising
sense of the characteristics of the present, and thereby
make it intellectually more interesting ; and it will
put us into a better position to confront, with reason-
able judgment, the problems of the future.

WILLIAM ASHLEY.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. THE GREAT SOCIETY

The meaning of the 'Great Society' Its wonders and
its dangers : (i) Its great productivity; (2) Its
mass of capital; (3) Its minute division of labour,
communication, and exchange; (4) Its imperfections
The problem of control Its development : (i)
The household stage of industry; (2) The handi-
craft stage of industry; (3) The domestic stage of
industry; (4) The factory stage of industry 15

CHAPTER II. SOME ASPECTS OF MEDIEVAL LIFE
The Middle Ages as starting point : (i) The size of the
population; (2) Local isolation; The village; The
town; (3) The influence of the Church; The regula-
tion of prices; The control of profiteering; The
prohibition of usury; (4) The insecurity of human
life : (a) robbery and assault; (b) famine; (c) fire;
(d) pestilence; (e) little wars; (5) stagnation 29

CHAPTER III. THE MANOR AND THE GILD
The feudal system The manor The houses of the
manor the open fields of the manor Manorial
methods of cultivation Their defects The culti-
vators of the manor : (a) the serfs; (b) the free
tenants; (c) the specialists The manor and the
modern village compared The town The signifi-
cance of its charter Markets and fairs The
craftsmen and their gilds The policy of the gilds
The gild members The social life of the gilds
Mediaeval and modern industry compared 51

CHAPTER IV. THE CLOSE OF THE MIDDLE AGES
The process of change in manorial life The commuta-
tion of labour services for money The conditions
9



io CONTENTS

for commutation : (a) money; (b) the production
of a surplus and the existence of a market The
Black Death, 1348 Labour scarcity and its results
The Ordinance of Labourers, 1349 Labour
unrest and the Peasants' Revolt, 1381 Disappear-
ance of labour services The increase of the free
tenants Security of tenure The process of change
in town life The coming of the middlemen Signs
of change in gild life : (a) the organisation of the
liverymen; (b) the organisation of the journeymen;
(c) the beginning of government control; (d) the
loss of religious funds The expansion of the cloth
industry The domestic system 71

CHAPTER V. THE BIRTH OF A SEA POWER
England and the world, to-day, and in the eleventh
century The meaning of passive foreign trade
The Italians and the Germans The regulation of
foreign trade The Merchants of the Staple The
growth of an active foreign trade The significance
of the cloth industry Edward III. and the Flemish
immigrants The rise of the Merchant Adventurers,
and the triumph of English cloth Geographical dis-
covery The search for a sea route to India The
voyage of Bartholomew Diaz, 1486 The voyage
of Christopher Columbus, 1492 The voyage of
John Cabot, 1497 The Arctic voyages, 1553 and
1576 England and Spain The new international
values 91

CHAPTER VI. THE AGE OF PATERNALISM
England as a nation : (d) the strength of the Tudor
government; (b) the decay of Papal power; (c)
the stimulus of international rivalry The economic
problems of Tudor England The beginning of a
Mercantile System : (a) the encouragement of
shipping; (b) the encouragement of industry
Internal policy The Statute of Artificers, 1563
The agrarian revolution The enclosures The
Enclosure Acts Farming for profit The problem.



CONTENTS ii

of destitution Old methods of relief New methods
of relief The Elizabethan Poor Law, 1601 The
meaning of paternal government 106

CHAPTER VII. THE NEW FINANCE
Seventeenth-century politics The economic back-
ground The revolt of the middle classes The
decay pf internal regulation The stiffening of
commercial regulation The rise of the chartered
companies for trade and colonisation The
Navigation Acts The balance of trade The
accumulation of capital and the growth of joint
stock enterprise The need for banks The rise of
the goldsmith bankers Government finance The
Bank of England, 1694 London's new dignity 127

CHAPTER VIII. THE EVE OF GREAT CHANGES
The importance of the country-side Rural industry
The poverty of the northern counties Paralysis
of the iron industry The new parliamentary power
Chaos in local government The unpaid parish
officers The new traffic problem and the old parish
roads Turnpike Trusts to the rescue The age of
economic opportunity 142

CHAPTER IX. NECESSITY AND INVENTION
The smelting of iron with coal, 1735 The opening up
of the Scottish iron and coal fields The coming of
the steam engine Inventions in the textile industry
Pressure on the spinners The work of Arkwright,
Hargreaves, and Crompton Pressure on the
weavers Cartwright's power loom, 1785 The
new concentration of industry The transport in-
ventions Telford and Macadam The first canal,
1761 Era of canal construction, 1760-1830
The improvement of agriculture The work of
Townsend, Bakewell, and Young The necessity
for enclosure The hardships of enclosure The
passing of the yeoman 156



12 CONTENTS



CHAPTER X.^-TnE GREAT SOCIETY COMES OF AGE
The Industrial Revolution New opportunities for happi-
ness and suffering The re-distribution of population

New importance of the northern counties
and South Wales The increase of population
Possible causes of increase Reorganisation of home
life The factory, and the divorce of industry from
agriculture Employer and employed The problem
of Labour and Capital Development of the problem

The new dependence of the wage-earner 177

CHAPTER XI. THE ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND

Political Economy The Wealth of Nations and its
teaching Ruskin's criticism Public opinion and
Political Economy Laissez faire The revolt of
the child-lovers Parish apprentices, and their
sufferings in the factory The first Factory Act,
1802 Robert Owen, and his work at New Lanark
Human welfare and business profits The second
Factory Act, 1819 The third Factory Act, 1833
Light on the coal mines The Royal Commission
of 1840-2 The first Coal Mines Act, 1842 A
vindication of Political Economy 195

CHAPTER XII. RECONSTRUCTION

The beginnings of reconstruction The problem of the
Poor Law The growth of a deterrent system, and
its abandonment, 1782 The meeting at Speenham-
land, 1795 and its consequences The Royal
Commission, 1832-4 and its recommendations The
Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834 The 'Pinch-
pauper Triumvirate,' 1834-47 The genius of Edwin
Chadwick Utilitarianism The problem of dirt
and disease Official inquiries and their revelations

The first Public Health Act, 1848 The pension-
ing of Chadwick Later developments in Public
Health A bird's-eye view of English Local Govern-
ment The new democracy and the new officialdom

'Confusion worse confounded' 218



CONTENTS 13

CHAPTER XIII. RISE OF THE TRADE Uxioxs
The new capitalism and the old labour laws The Com-
bination Act of 1799 The tailor of Charing Cross
The repeal of the Combination I^aws, 1824 The
rise of the trades unions The persecution of the
Dorset labourers, 1834, and the collapse of trades
unionism The 'New Unionism' Birth of the
A.S.E., 1851 Industrial co-operation The Roch-
dale Pioneers, 1844 Birth of the C.W.S., 1864
The social aspect of co-operation A period of
storm and stress The Sheffield outrages, 1866
A legal blow, 1867 The Trade Union Acts of 1871
and 1875 The growth of trade union membership
and the awakening of the unskilled worker
The Franchise Act of 1867 and the growth of the
Parliamentary Labour Party The return of a
revolutionary spirit The meaning of Socialism 240

CHAPTER XIV. THE WORKSHOP AND THE WORLD
International division of labour Its advantages and
disadvantages From self-sufficiency to world de-
pendence The battle for free trade War and the
food problem, 1793-1815 The Corn Law of 1815
Ricardo's interpretation The revolt of the manu-
facturers Free trade in corn, 1846 Free trade all
round, 1846-60 The transport inventions The
opening of the first railway, 1825 The triumph of
the locomotive The first steamship, 1802 The
passing of the sailing ship Large scale business
and the evolution of John Smith Combinations
and trusts The Big Five Great Britain, the
universal provider and the world's creditor The
widening of the great net 263

i

CHAPTER XV. THE NEW AGE OF PATERNALISM
From interference to laissez faire The extravagance of
laissez Jaiye and the mystification of the economists
Representative government and its departmen-
tal officials The beginning of factory legislation



14 CONTENTS

The return of wage regulation The Trade Boards
Act, 1909 The spread of wage regulation The
growth of the public services National health
and national education : (i) Education and laissez
faire; (2) Education and state encouragement; (3)
Education and state provision The father or the
brother? 288

CHAPTER XVI. Quo VADIS?

The heritage of the twentieth century : (a) the problem
of labour and capital; (b) the problem of inter-
national relations; (c) the problem of citizenship 304



CHAPTER I

THE GREAT SOCIETY

We are afraid of the blind forces to which we used
so willingly to surrender ourselves. We feel that we must
reconsider the basis of our organised life because, without
reconsideration, we have no chance of controlling it. And
so behind the momentary ingenuities and party phrases of
our statesmen we can detect the straining effort to comprehend
while there is yet time. GRAHAM WALLAS.

ON the eve of the European war Professor Graham
Wallas published a book called The Great Society. By
the Great Society he does not mean any
particular society, nor does he mean the The
society of any particular country. He e a g eat of
means the whole system of life under which Society.'
those nations which we call 'civilised' live
to-day a system of life very far removed from what
is generally called 'the simple life.' Indeed, for most
of us it is a very elaborate life. We want, or imagine
that we want, a whole host of things which our fore-
fathers never dreamed of wanting; and we have
means for satisfying those wants which our fore-
fathers would have regarded as rank black magic.
As a result, the majority of us, in this country at least,
have become dependent on big industries and are
obliged to live herded together in overcrowded smoky
town areas which perhaps a hundred and fifty years
ago were green open country.

15



16 THE INDUSTRIAL STATE

In his first chapter Professor Wallas speaks of the
wonder and the danger of this elaborate organisation
of industry and commerce and finance
Its wonders upon which we have become dependent.
dangers. He shows us that it is wonderful because
it enables us to turn out masses of wealth
by conquering and harnessing the powers of nature
steam, electricity, running water to our machines,
forcing them to do our most laborious work for us.
He shows us that it is dangerous because we do
not really and thoroughly understand it. We are
in the position of a man who has somehow
managed to create a powerful and intricate
mechanism which he is not at all sure of being able
to control.

Let us then look a little more closely at this Great
Society which dominates our lives, and notice some
of its main features some of those features, for
instance, which make it so very different from the
kind of society under which our own forefathers lived
in the days when London was a little walled city, and
Westminster a rather marshy suburb.

In the first place we must notice that our Great
Society is enormously productive. If we take our own
country the United Kingdom alone, we
^ n( ^ that ^ s forty-six million or so of
inhabitants are better off in the matter
of material wealth than their forefathers have
ever been. Between them they are somehow managing
to turn out a surprising amount of wealth, wealth to
the tune of something like three thousand million
pounds worth a year, wealth enough to keep them
all from starving, wealth enough to make some of



THE GREAT SOCIETY 17

them fabulously rich. Why, we may ask, is the labour
of these forty-six million of people or rather of so
many of them as actually work with hand or brain
so much more productive than the labour of past
generations? The answer is suggested by a
second and third remarkable feature of the Great
Society.

The second feature is the fact that our Great Society
is possessed of an enormous mass of capital, and this
is one of the secrets of its productivity.
By capital, of course, we mean nothing ** c ^p^ ss
more nor less than an accumulation of
goods. They may be accumulated in the form of tools,
or materials, or buildings, which can be used by
those who labour to make their labour more
productive. Or they may be accumulated by
the individual in the form of money with which
tools or materials or buildings can be purchased.
And the better a society is supplied with capital,
the more productive its labour will be.

It is easy to realise that a shipwrecked sailor will be
infinitely better off on his desert island if some fish-
hooks and a spade, a knife and a few tins of bully-beef
have been shipwrecked along with him . It is j list as easy
to realise that our forty-six million or so of country-
men would be infinitely worse off if they did not
happen to possess buildings and machines, roads and
railways, stocks of food and raw material, and all
the other instruments of production which have been
accumulated and handed down to us by past genera-
tions. Indeed, so great is the importance of capital,
if man is not to lead a miserable and precarious exist-
ence grubbing with his bare nails for edible roots,
T.I.S. B



i8 THE INDUSTRIAL STATE

that the first thing to be done when a new country
is opened up, is to export capital to that country in
the form of machines and railway lines, and all the
multitude of other things that it will have to accumu-
late before men can set to work to make proper use
of its natural resources.

And it is -because our Great Society is richer in
capital than ever before (or was until the war
destroyed a part of its wealth) that the labour of its
people is so extraordinarily productive. It is not
merely that it possesses so great a quantity of
capital ; the quality of that which it possesses is
so wonderfully efficient. Its network of railways and
telephones, its wireless installations, its intricate
scientific instruments, its machines which do so
quickly and so powerfully what the human hand once
did so slowly and so laboriously all these would be
a constant source of pride and wonder to us if we
were not so accustomed to them that we take them
for granted. Let us then bear in mind, for future
use, this meaning of the word 'capital.' It is a mean-
ing which will cover any instrument of production,
from the modern railway company's permanent way
to the first bone fish-hook or the first stone arrow-
head of our hairy British forefathers. It is a meaning
which we sometimes lose sight of in everyday con-
versation when we use the word 'capital' to mean
not the actual instruments of production but the
people who happen at the present time to own
them.

A third feature of our Great Society, and one which
is responsible for much of its bewildering complexity,
is what political economists call the division of labour.



THE GREAT SOCIETY 19

This third feature is as much a cause of our
society's great productivity as the second. Obviously,
if every family in the United Kingdom
were dependent upon its own isolated 3-. {'* minute

, . , division of

efforts to supply its own varying needs, life labour.
would be a difficult and at best an uncom-
fortable business. Even if we imagine a rough division
of labour between men, women, and children within
the family group, that family will no't get very far in
the direction of material comfort so long as its father
is responsible for all the house-building and engineer-
ing, its mother for all the spinning, weaving, doctoring,
and dentistry.

We know that to-day it is possible to secure an
infinite economy of material and of human skill
by the division of labour and specialisation. By
specialisation we mean the devotion of a man or
a place or a machine to one particular kind of job,
the job for which he or it is best suited. There
are, of course, degrees of specialisation. The doctor
is a specialised worker because he devotes himself
entirety to the study of the human body, and relies
upon other people to grow his food, make his bed,
weave his clothes. The oculist is a still more highly
specialised worker because he devotes himself entirely
to the study of the human eye, and relies upon other
doctors to look after the human stomach and the
human brain and the human nose. At the present
time we find a very high degree of specialisation in
most departments of life. We see the specialisation of
one locality in fruit-growing, of another in cotton-
spinning; the specialisation of one part of the world
in tea-planting, of another in sheep-rearing; the



20 THE INDUSTRIAL STATE

specialisation of one man in tool-setting, of another
in surgery; we see, in short, the devotion, as far as
possible, of persons and places to the kind of work
for which they are best suited by nature or training.
And such specialisation as this causes men and women
at opposite ends of the world to co-operate in the
production of wealth; drawn together, not by brotherly
love, but simply by the knowledge that in working
together and relying upon one another, all may
become richer because all may have a better chance
of specialising.

When we come to examine this third feature more
closely, we find that it is a necessary condition of the
second; for obviously the best use of capital and the
perfection of machinery, cannot be attained without
this specialisation and division of labour. So long,
for example, as the mother is responsible for the
dentistry of her own family as part of her general
household duties, it will not pay her to set up a well-
equipped dentist's chair. With reasonable luck she
would only use it once in two or three years. Not
until an individual specialises in dentistry, gives his
whole time to it, and performs the dentistry not
merely of his own family but of a whole district, will it
be worth while for him to acquire the fullest training
and set up a complete dental apparatus.

There are, however, two important conditions which

are necessary for the minute specialisation which we

see around us to-day. In the first place

Communi- there must be facilities for communication

catton and

exchange. and transport; in the second place there

must be facilities for exchange. To begin

with communication : it is of little use for a man



THE GREAT SOCIETY 21

to devote himself to the manufacture of watches if
he has no means of sending his watches outside
his native village : otherwise, when every villager
is possessed of a watch, his livelihood will forsake
him; he will have to devote himself to something
else, and his watchmaking skill will be wasted.
For the same reason it is of little use for Lancashire
to devote itself to the manufacture of cotton if it has
no means of exporting its goods over a wide enough
field to keep its machines and its workers continuously
at work.

But something more is needed than the bare
possibility of moving things about if a high degree
of specialisation is to take place. We also require
some method of exchange which every one shall
understand. Mere barter, the exchange of one
commodity or service for another will not cany us
very far. To realise this we have only to imagine
the hideous inconvenience of having to find some-
thing that our shopkeeper happens to want before we
can persuade him to sell us let us say a pair of gloves.
Will he accept a dozen eggs or shall we offer to clean
his doorstep for him every day for a week ? Obviously,
without some common medium such as metal money
or paper money, exchange would be a difficult matter;
and without exchange specialisation cannot develop.
For how could the dentist's family live on dentistry
alone, as it would have to do, were it not possible


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryMary Danvers (Brinton) StocksThe industrial state; a social and economic history of England → online text (page 1 of 21)