Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin.

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ploying 8000 workers (yearly production about 5,000,000
pairs). But at the same time domestic industries took a
new development Thousands of women are employed
now in their houses in sewing the " uppers " and in
embroidering fancy shoes. Moreover, quite a number
of smaller workshops grew up in the neighbourhood,
for the fabrication of cardboard boxes, wooden heels,
and so on, as well as a number of tanneries, big and
small And M. Ardouin Dumazet's remark is, that one
is struck to find owing to these industries an un-
doubtedly higher level of well-being in the villages
quite unforeseen in the centre of this purely agricultural

* Vol. v., D. 270.


In Brittany, in the neighbourhood of Quimperle', a
great number of small workshops for the fabrication of
the felt hats which are worn by the peasants is scattered
in the villages ; and rapidly improving agriculture goes
hand in hand with that trade. Well-being is a dis-
tinctive feature of these villages.* At Hennebout (on
the southern coast of Brittany) 1400 workers are em-
ployed in an immense factory in the fabrication of tins
for preserves, and every year twenty-two to twenty-
three tons of iron are transformed into steel, and next
into tins, which are sent to Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes, and
so on. But the factory has created " quite a world of
tiny workshops " in this purely agricultural region :
small tin- ware workshops, tanneries, potteries, and so
on, while the slags are transformed in small workshops
into manure. Agriculture and industry go here hand
in hand, the importance of not severing the union being
perhaps best seen at Loude'ac, a small town in the midst
of Brittany (department of C6tes-du-Nord). Formerly
the villages in this neighbourhood were industrial, all
hamlets being peopled with weavers who fabricated the
well-known Brittany linen. Now, this industry having
very much gone down, the weavers have simply returned
to the soil. Out of an industrial town, Louddac has
become an agricultural market town ; t and, what is
most interesting, these populations conquer new lands
for agriculture and turn the formerly quite unproductive
landes into rich corn fields ; t while on the northern coast
of Brittany, around Dol, on land which began to be
conquered from the sea in the twelfth century, market-
gardening is now carried on to a very great extent for
export to England. Altogether, it is striking to observe,
on perusing M. Ardouin Dumazet's little volumes, how
domestic industries go hand in hand with all sorts of small
industries in agriculture gardening, poultry-farming,

* Ardouin Dumazet, vol. v., p. 215.
f Ibid., vol. v., pp. 259-266


fabrication of fruit preserves, and so on, and how all sorts
of associations for sale and export are easily introduced.
Mans is, as known, a great centre for the export of
geese and all sorts of poultry to England.

Part of Normandy (namely, the departments of Eure
and Orne) is dotted with small workshops where all
sorts of small brass goods and hardware are still fabri-
cated in the villages. Of course, the domestic fabrication
of pins is nearly gone, and as for needles, polishing
only, in a very primitive form, has been maintained
in the ' villages. But all sorts of small hardware,
including nails, lockets, etc., in great variety, are fabri-
cated in the villages, especially round Laigle. Stays are
also sewn in small workshops in many villages, notwith-
standing the competition of prison work*

Tinchebrai (to the west of Flers) is a real centre for
a great variety of smaller goods in iron, mother-of-pearl
and horn. All sorts of hardware and locks are fabri-
cated by the peasants during the time they can spare
from agriculture, and real works of art, some of which
were much admired at the exhibition of 1889, are pro-
duced by these humble peasant sculptors in horn,
mother-of-pearl and iron. Farther south, the polishing
of marble goods is carried on in numbers of small work-
shops scattered round Solesmes and grouped round one
central establishment where marble pieces are roughly
shaped with the aid of steam, to be finished in the small
village workshops. At Sable* the workers in that branch,
who all own their houses and gardens, enjoy a real well-
being especially noticed by our traveller, t

In the woody regions of the Perche and the Maine
we find all sorts of wooden industries which evidently
could only be maintained owing to the communal pos-
session of the woods. Near the forest of Perseigne there

* I gave, a few years ago, some information about French prison work
in a book, In Russian and French Prisons, London, 1888.
f Ardouin Dumazet, vol. ii., p. 51.


is a small burg, Fresnaye, which is entirely peopled with
workers in wood.

" There is not one house," Ardouin Dumazet writes, " in which
wooden goods would not be fabricated. Some years ago there was little
variety in their produce ; spoons, salt-boxes, shepherds' boxes, scales,
various wooden pieces for weavers, flutes and hautboys, spindles, wooden
measures, funnels, and wooden bowls were only made. But Paris wanted
to have a thousand things in which wood was combined with iron :
mouse-traps, cloak-pegs, spoons for jam, brooms. . . . And now every
house has a workshop containing either a turning-lathe, or some machine-
tools for chopping wood, for making lattice- work, and so on. . . . Quite
a new industry was born, and the most coquettish things are now
fabricated. Owing to this industry the population is happy. The earn-
ings are not high, but each worker owns his house and garden, and
occasionally a bit of field." *

At Neufcha'tel wooden shoes are made, and the hamlet,
we are told, has a most smiling aspect. To every house
a garden is attached, and none of the misery of big cities
is to be seen. At Jupilles and in the surrounding country
other varieties of wooden goods are produced : tapes,
boxes of different kinds, together with wooden shoes ;
while at the forest of Vibraye two workshops have been
erected for turning out umbrella handles by the million
for all France. One of these workshops having been
founded by a worker sculptor, he has invented and intro-
duced in his workshop the most ingenious machine-tools.
About 150 men work at this factory; but it is evident
that half a dozen smaller workshops, scattered in the
villages, would have answered equally well.

Going now over to a quite different region the
Nievre, in the centre of France, and Haute Marne, in
the east we find that both regions are great centres
for a variety of small industries, some of which are
maintained by associations of workers, while others have
grown up in the shadow of factories. The small iron
workshops which formerly covered the country have not
disappeared : they have undergone a transformation ;

V9i. .. pp. 35. 30$.


and now the country is covered with small workshops
where agricultural machinery, chemical produce, and
pottery are fabricated ; " one ought to go as far as
Gue'rigny and Fourchambault to find the great in-
dustry ; " * while a number of small workshops for the
fabrication of a variety of hardware flourish by the side
of, and owing to the proximity of, the industrial centres.
Pottery makes the fortune of the valley of the Loire
about Nevers. High-class art pottery is made in this
town, while in the villages plain pottery is fabricated
and exported by merchants who go about with their
boats, selling it. At Gien a large factory of china buttons
(made out of felspar-powder cemented with milk) has
lately been established, and employs 1 500 workmen, who
produce from 3500 to 4500 Ib. of buttons every day.
And, as is often the case, part of the work is done in
the villages. For many miles on both banks of the
Loire, in all villages, old people, women and children sew
the buttons to the cardboard pieces. Of course, that
sort of work is wretchedly paid ; but it is resorted to
only because there is no other sort of industry in the
neighbourhood to which the peasants could give their
leisure time.

In the same region of the Haute Marne, especially
in the neighbourhood of Nogent, we find cutlery as a
by-occupation to agriculture. Landed property is very
much subdivided in that part of France, and great
numbers of peasants own but from two to three acres
per family, or even less. Consequently, in thirty villages
round Nogent, about 5000 men are engaged in cutlery,
chiefly of the highest sort (artistic knives are occasion-
ally sold at as much as 20 a piece), while the lower sorts
are fabricated in the neighbourhoods of Thiers, in Puy-
de-D6me (Auvergne). The Nogent industry has de-
veloped spontaneously without any aid from without,

* Ardouin Dumazet, vol. i., p. 52.


and in its technical part it shows considerable progress ; *
while at Thiers, where the cheapest sorts of cutlery are
made, the division of labour, the cheapness of rent for
small workshops supplied with motive power from the
Durolle river, or from small gas motors, the aid of a
great variety of specially invented machine-tools, and the
existing combination of machine-work with hand-work
have resulted in such a perfection of the technical part
of the trade that it is considered doubtful whether the
factory system could further economise labour.! For
twelve miles round Thiers, in each direction, all the
streamlets are dotted with small workshops, in which
peasants, who continue to cultivate their fields, are at

Basket-making is again an important cottage industry
in several parts of France, namely in Aisne and in
Haute Marne. In this last department, at Villaines,
every one is a basket-maker, " and all the basket-makers
belong to a co-operative society," Ardouin Dumazet re-
marks. + " There are no employers ; all the produce is
brought once a fortnight to the co-operative stores and
there it is sold for the association. About 150 families
belong to it, and each owns a house and some vineyards."
At Fays-Billot, also in Haute Marne, 1500 basket-
makers also belong to an association ; while at Thie*-
rache, where several thousand men are engaged in the
same trade, no association has been formed, the earnings
being in consequence extremely low.

Another very important centre of petty trades is
the French Jura, or the French part of the Jura Moun-
tains, where the watch trade has attained, as known,
a high development. When I visited these villages

* Prof. Issaieff in the Russian Memoirs of the Petty Trades Commission
(Trudy Kustarnoi Kommissii), vol. v.

f Knives are sold at from 6s. 4<i. to 8s. per gross, and razors at 35. 3d.
per gross " for export ".

I Ardouin Dumazet, vol. i., p. 213 et seq.


between the Swiss frontier and Besangon in the year
1878, I was struck by the high degree of relative well-
being which I could observe, even though I was perfectly
well acquainted with the Swiss villages in the Val de
Saint Imier. It is very probable that the machine-made
watches have brought about a crisis in French watch-
making as they have in Switzerland. But it is known
that part, at least, of the Swiss watch-makers have strenu-
ously fought against the necessity of being enrolled in
the factories, and that while watch factories grew up
at Geneva and elsewhere, considerable numbers of the
watch-makers have taken to divers other trades which
continue to be carried on as domestic or small industries.
I must only add that in the French Jura great numbers
of watch-makers were at the same time owners of their
houses and gardens, very often of bits of fields, and
especially of communal meadows, and that the communal
fruitieres, or creameries for the common sale of butter
and cheese, are widely spread in that part of France.

So far as I could ascertain, the development of the
machine-made watch industry has not destroyed the
small industries of the Jura hills. The watch-makers
have taken to new branches, and, as in Switzerland, they
have created various new industries. From Ardouin
Dumazet's travels we can, at any rate, borrow an insight
into the present state of the southern part of this region.
In the neighbourhoods of Nantua and Cluse silks are
woven in nearly all villages, the peasants giving to
weaving their spare time from agriculture, while quite a
number of small workshops (mostly less than twenty
looms, one of 100 looms) are scattered in the little
villages, on the streamlets running from the hills.
Scores of small saw-mills have also been built along the
streamlet Merloz, for the fabrication of all sorts of little
pretty things in wood. At Oyonnax, a small town on
the Ain, we have a big centre for the fabrication of
combs, an industry more than 200 years old, which took


a new development since the last war through the inven-
tion of celluloid No less than 100 or 120 "masters"
employ from two to fifteen workers each, while over
1 200 persons work in their houses, making combs out of
Irish horn and French celluloid. Wheel-power was
formerly rented in small workshops, but electricity,
generated by a waterfall, has lately been introduced,
and is now distributed in the houses for bringing into
motion small motors of from one-quarter to twelve
horse-power. And it is remarkable to notice that as
soon as electricity gave the possibility to return to do-
mestic work 300 workers left at once the small work-
shops and took to work in their houses. Most of these
workers have their own cottages and gardens, and they
show a very interesting spirit of association. They have
also erected four workshops for making cardboard boxes,
and their production is valued at 2,000,000 fr. every year.*
At St. Claude, which is a great centre for briar pipes
(sold in large quantities in London with English trade-
marks, and therefore eagerly bought by those Frenchmen
who visit London, as a souvenir from the other side of
the Channel), big and small workshops, both supplied
by motive force from the Tacon streamlet, prosper by the
side of each other. Over 4000 men and women are
employed in this trade, while all sorts of small by-trades
have grown by its side (amber and horn mouth-pieces,
sheaths, etc.). Countless small workshops are busy
besides, on the banks of the two streams, with the fabri-
cation of all sorts of wooden things : match-boxes, beads,
sheaths for spectacles, small things in horn, and so on,
to say nothing of a large factory (200 workers) where
metric measures are fabricated for the whole world
At the same time thousands of persons in St. Claude, in
the neighbouring villages and in the smallest mountain
hamlets, are busy in cutting diamonds (an industry only

*Ardouin Dumazet, vol. viii., p. 40.


fifteen years old in this region), and other thousands are
busy in cutting various less precious stones. All this
is done in quite small workshops supplied by water-
power. The extraction of ice from some lakes and the
gathering of oak-bark for tanneries complete the picture
of these busy villages, where industry joins hands with
agriculture, and modern machines and appliances are so
well put in the service of the small workshops.

Finally, omitting a mass of small trades, I will only
name the hat-makers of the Loire, the stationery of the
Ardeche, the fabrication of hardware in the Doubs, the
glove-makers of the Isere, the broom and brush-makers
of the Oise (valued at 800,000 per annum), and the
house machine-knitting in the neighbourhoods of Troyes.
But I must say a few words more about two important
centres of small industries : the Lyons region and Paris.

At the present time the industrial region of which
Lyons is the centre * includes the departments of Rhone,
Loire, Drdme, Sa6ne-et-Loire, Ain, the southern part of
the Jura department, and the western part of Savoy,
as far as Annecy, while the silkworm is reared as far as
the Alps, the Ce"vennes Mountains, and the neighbour-
hoods of Ma"con. It contains, besides fertile plains,
large hilly tracts, also very fertile as a rule, but covered
with snow during part of the winter, and the rural popu-
lations are therefore bound to resort to some industrial
occupation in addition to agriculture ; they find it in
silk-weaving and various small industries. Altogether
it may be said that the region lyonnaise is characterised
as a separate centre of French civilisation and art, and
that a remarkable spirit of research, discovery and in-
vention has developed there in all directions scientific
and industrial

The Croix Rousse at Lyons, where the silk-weavers

* For further details see Appendix O.


peanuts) have their chief quarters, is the centre of that
industry, and in 1895 the whole of that hill, thickly
covered with houses, five, six, eight and ten storeys
high, resounded with the noise of the looms which were
busily going in every apartment of that big agglomera-
tion. Electricity has lately been brought into the ser-
vice of this domestic industry, supplying motive power
to the looms.

To the south of Lyons, in the city of Vienne, hand-
weaving is disappearing. " Shoddy " is now the lead-
ing produce, and twenty-eight concerns only remain
out of the 1 20 fabriques which existed thirty years ago.
Old woollen rags, rags of carpets, and all the dust from
the carding and spinning in the wool and cotton factories
of Northern France, with a small addition of cotton,
are transformed here into cloth which flows from Vienne
to all the big cities of France 20,000 yards of " shoddy "
every day to supply the ready-made clothing factories.
Hand-weaving has evidently nothing to do in that in-
dustry, and only 1300 hand-looms are now at work out
of the 4000 which were in motion ten years ago. Large
factories, employing a total of 1800 workers, have taken
the place of these hand-weavers, while " shoddy " has
taken the place of cloth. All sorts of flannels, felt hats,
tissues of horse-hair, and so on, are fabricated at the
same time. But while the great factory thus conquered
the city of Vienne, its suburbs and its nearest surround-
ings became the centre of a prosperous gardening and
fruit culture, which has already been mentioned in
chapter iv. The banks of the Rh6ne, between Ampuis
and Condrieu, are one of the wealthiest parts of all
France, owing to the shrubberies and nurseries, market-
gardening, fruit-growing, vine-growing and cheese-mak-
ing out of goats' milk. House industries go there hand
in hand with an intelligent culture of the soil ; Condrieu,
for instance, is a famous centre for embroidery, which is
made partly by hand, as of old, and partly by machinery.


In the west of Lyons, at 1'Arbresles, factories have
grown up for making silks and velvets ; but a large part
of the population still continue to weave in their houses ;
while farther west, Panissieres is the centre of quite a
number of villages in which linen and silks are woven as
a domestic industry. Not all these workers own their
houses, but those, at least, who own or rent a small piece
of land or garden, or keep a couple of cows, are said to
be well off, and the land, as a rule, is said to be admir-
ably cultivated by these weavers.

The chief industrial centre of this part of the Lyons
region is certainly Tarare. Thirty years ago, when Rey-
baud wrote his excellent work, Lt Colon, it was a centre
for the manufacture of muslins and it occupied in this in-
dustry the same position as Leeds formerly occupied in
this country in the woollen cloth trade. The spinning mills
and the large finishing factories were at Tarare, while
the weaving of the muslins and the embroidery of the
same were made in the surrounding villages, especially
in the hilly tracts of the Beaujolais and the Forez.
Each peasant house, each farm and metayerie were small
workshops at that time, and one could see, Reybaud
wrote, the lad of twenty embroidering fine muslin after
he had finished cleaning the farm stables, without the
work suffering in its delicacy from a combination of two
such varied pursuits. On the contrary, the delicacy of
the work and the extreme variety of patterns were a dis-
tinctive feature of the Tarare muslins and a cause of their
success. All testimonies agreed at the same time in re-
cognising that, while agriculture found support in the
industry, the agricultural population enjoyed a relative

By this time the industry has undergone a thorough
transformation, but still no less than 60,000 persons,
representing a population of about 250,000 souls, work
for Tarare in the hilly tracts, weaving all sorts of muslins
for all parts of the world, and they earn every year


480,000 in this way. Amplepuis, notwithstanding its
own factories of silks and its wonderful apricot culture,
remains one of the local centres for such muslins ; while
close by, Thizy is a centre for a variety of linings, flannels,
" peruvian serges," " oxfords," and other mixed woollen-
and-cotton stuffs which are woven in the mountains by
the peasants. No less than 3000 hand-looms are thus
scattered in twenty-two villages, and about 600,000
worth of various stuffs are woven every year by the
rural weavers in this neighbourhood alone; while
i 5,000 power-looms are at work in both Thizy and the
great city of Roanne, in which two towns all varieties
of cottons (linings, flannelettes, apron cloth) and silk
blankets are woven in factories by the million yards.
At Cours, 1600 workers are employed in making
" blankets," chiefly of the lowest sort (even such as are
sold at 2s. and even rod. a piece, for export to Brazil) ;
all possible and imaginable rags and sweepings from
all sorts of textile factories (jute, cotton, flax, hemp, wool
and silk) are used for that industry, in which the factory
is, of course, fully victorious. But even at Roanne,
where the fabrication of cottons has attained a great
degree of perfection and 9000 power-looms are at work,
producing every year more than 30,000,000 yards
even at Roanne one finds with astonishment that do-
mestic industries are not dead, but yield every year the
respectable amount of more than 10,000,000 yards of
stuffs. At the same time, in the neighbourhood of that
big city the industry of fancy-knitting has taken within
the last thirty years a sudden development. Only 2000
women were employed in it in 1864, but their numbers
are now estimated at 20,000; and, without abandoning
their rural work, they find time to knit, with the aid of
small knitting-machines, all sorts of fancy articles in
wool, the annual value of which is estimated at

* Ardouin Dumazet, vol. viii., p. 266.


It must not be thought, however, that textiles and
connected trades are the only small industries in this
locality. Scores of various rural industries continue
to exist besides, and in nearly all of them the methods
of production are continually improved. Thus, when
the rural making of plain chairs became unprofitable,
articles of luxury and stylish chairs began to be fabri-
cated in the villages, and similar transformations are
found everywhere.

More details about this extremely interesting region
will be found in the Appendix, but one remark must be
made in this place. Notwithstanding its big industries
and coal mines this part of France has entirely main-
tained its rural aspect, and is now one of the best cul-
tivated parts of the country. What most deserves
admiration is not so much the development of the great
industries, which, after all, here as elsewhere, are to a
great extent international in their origins as the creative
and inventive powers and capacities of adaptation which
appear amongst the great mass of these industrious popu-
lations. At every step, in the field, in the garden, in the
orchard, in the dairy, in the industrial arts, in the hun-
dreds of small inventions in these arts, one sees the
creative genius of the folk. In these regions one best
understands why France, taking the mass of its popula-
tion, is considered the richest country of Europe.*

The chief centre for petty trades in France is, how-
ever, Paris. There we find, by the side of the large
factories, the greatest variety of petty trades for the
fabrication of goods of every description, both for the

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Online LibraryPetr Alekseevich KropotkinFields, factories, and workshops; or, Industry combined with agriculture and brain work with manual work → online text (page 13 of 22)