Wilfrid Richmond.

The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

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opinions as do the others of their party ^ a few
are individualists, many are Socialists, in theii
leanings ; some are extreme and others an
moderate in their radicalism.

The Labor Party itself includes men o£
divergent opinions, though to a less extent
than the other?. About three-quarters of
its members are Socialists. _ The remaining
quarter declines so to label itself, but it has
no definite creed, and constant association
with men of strong opinions, who as a rule
have studied political and social problems,
makes it to say the least, extremely toleranr
of socialism.

Because of this divergence the Labor Party
has refused to formulate a programme. It has
issued official leaflets in favor of Old Agv
Pensions, and of the nationalization of railways
and of land. It has advocated state provision
of work for the unemployed and of meals for
underfed school children; and it strongly sup-
ports free trade, a policy on which all sections
of labor are united. The attitude of the Labor
Party to the Liberal Government again is con-
ditioned by various factors. The party exist?
by independence, but none the less it was elected
largely by Liberal votes. Only five of the 29
members were opposed by Liberals. In 16
cases the Liberals left them alone to fight the
Tories. In eight other cases of two-membered
constituencies, the Liberals only put up one
candidate. Thus 24 out of the, 29 Labor men
polled the bulk of the Liberal vote m their
constituencies.

The Socialist political policy includes the
labor policy above indicated, and goes farther
on the same lines. It advocates the munici-
palization of the liquor trade, and mdre drastic
interference with the evil results of competi-
tion, such as long hours and overtime, child
labor, and sweating of women's labor ; it favors
compulsory arbitration to replace strikes and
lock-outs; and a more vigorous extension of
the sphere of municipal and governmental
industry. Some Labor men oppose some of
these proposals. Very few would oppose them

an.

At present the prospects of the Labor
Party are bright. Its leaders are united and
harmonious. The party is in a stronger
financial position than any other section,
since its members are paid a regular salary
from a central fund. Moreover the party ha*
made a name for itself; it is a force to be
reckoned with; its action is watched, and its
intentions discussed in advance. In every
respect trie Labor Party member has a



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OREAT BRITAIN — THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT



marked advantage over his Liberal-Labor
rival. There is every, prospect that the Labor %
Party will grow* stronger and no doubt
before long the half million miners with their
ii members of Parliament will join its ranks.

Prophecy in politics is peculiarly risky
but it is fairly safe to say that the share of
labor in the control of the destinies of the
Empire will be larger in the future than it
has been in the past.

Bibliography. — First and Second Periods. —
The following amongst many may be con-
sulted: Gamm&ge, Chartist Movement*
(1804); Wallas, <Life of Francis Place**
(1898); Podmore, <Life of Robert Owen'
<iqo6) ; Broadhurst, < Autobiography > ; How-
ell, ( Labor Leaders, Labor Legislation, and
Labor Movements'; and also for both
periods books on trade unionism and co-
operation.

Third Period-— Webb, Socialism in Eng-
land' (Sonnenschein 1893) J. Noel, ( The Labor
Party: What it is and What it Wants';
(Unwin 1906) ; Annual Reports of the Labor
Party (London) ; Annual' Reports of the Trade
"Union Congress (London) ; Annual Reports of
the Independent Labor Party (London) ; Publi-
cations of the Social Democratic Federation
(London) ; Annual Reports of the Fabian So-
ciety (London).

Edward R. Pease,
A Founder and Secretary of the Fabian Society;
Trustee and Member of the Executive of
the Labor Party.

oS. Great Britain — The Co-operative
Movement. The earliest examples of co-opera-
tive institutions are the corn mills and baking
societies started in the closing years of the 18th
century and the first decade of the 19th as a
relief from the millers' monopoly and the exor-
bitant price of flour. At Hull, Whitby, Sheer-
ness, Devonport, and sundry places in Scotland,
mills and bakeries were worked successfully on
a ready-money, cost : price basis, but they had
little effect on the subsequent movement,
thougn Sheerness and a few other societies still
exist. The co-operative idea, as we know it,
was evoked in the mind of Robert Owen by
consideration of the antagonism of classes pro-
duced by the industrial revolution with its wide-
spread misery amon^ the factory operatives.
Failing to persuade his fellow manufacturers to
follow his example of humane treatment of his
employees, and railing to obtain efficient factory
legislation from the government, he devised the
•plan of organizing the workers into self-sufficient
communities, owning and cultivating the land in
common and producing commodities for their
own use or for exchange with other communi-
ties. Two such colonies, at Orbiston in Lan-
arkshire (1826) and at Ralahine in Ireland
< 1830-4), nearly succeeded. His followers, who
enthusiastically adopted his communist doc-
trines, started, from 1828 onwards, numerous
associations for co-operative trading, which
employed their profits in setting their members
to work at manufacture on a small scale. To
provide a market for the goods so made, Owen
in 1832 opened his Equitable LaborcExcjiange-at.
Gray's Inn in London, where persons leaving



goods for sale received in exchange labor-notes
based on the average time of production at six-
pence per hour. "In 1830 there were nearly 300
a Union Shops* with over 20,000 members, and
between 1830 and 1835 seven Co-operative Con-
gresses were held. But by 1835 the whole
movement collapsed owing to want of legal
status, the divergent interests of the members,
and the failure of the labor-time principle. The
enthusiasm of Owen's followers now overflowed
into the Chartist movement.

The second stage in the history of co-opera-
tion began in 1844 with the founding of the
Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers by a
group of socialists, chartists, and trade unionists,
who found the motive in the failure of a strike
among the flannel weavers. Its objects were the
sale of provisions, etc., the building and buying
of houses for members, the employment of out-
of-work members in manufacture, the purchase
of an estate to be cultivated by members out of
work or underpaid, a to establish a self-support-
iug home colony of united interests,* and to
start a temperance hotel. Cash payment and
good quality were principles shared with the
older movement, but the new departure on
which the success of co-operation was to turn
was the surrender of the attempt to sell at cost
price. In lieu thereof Charles Howarth intro-
duced the system of dividing profits upon pur-
chases, and from that moment co-operation has
never ceased to prosper. This system took the
government of the society out of the hands of
founders or shareholders and transferred it to
the customers, that is to the general co-operative
community. The rules for the organization of
a Co-operative Society have remained substan-
tially the same as those of the original Rochdale
Society. To quote one example : "The object of
this society is to carry on the trade of dealers in
food, fuel, clothes, and other necessaries, and
manufacturers of the same ; the trade of general
dealers (wholesale and retail) ; including deal-
ings of any description with land, and the trade
ol builders.* Membership is free to all, and
each member must hold a fixed minimum of
pne-pound.shares one to five, carrying interest at
a or 5 per cent The maximum investment is
±200, and each member has one vote only, what-
ever his holding of shares. The quarterly general
meeting of the society is the governing body,
but the management is in the hands of the com-
mittee, generally elected for a year, half retiring
each six months. The secretary is elected for a
year by the general meeting, but is the servant
of the committee, which appoints all the other
officials and workpeople. The shares can be
withdrawn but are not transferable and there-
fore have never more than their face value. The
business of the store is transacted in the same
way and at the same prices as ordinary shop-
keepers, and after interest has been paid the
profits are divided among the customer-members
in proportion to their purchases. Metal tokens
or paper checks registering the value of each
purchase are given to the buyer, and are col-
lected periodically and credited to him. Non-
members are allowed half dividend. Out of the
profits a bonus is sometimes paid to labor
(£45,073 in 1905) and grants made for educa-



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GREAT BRITAIN — THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT



tional and charitable purposes (£120,831 «*

1905).

The co-operative movement now grew with
exceeding rapidity. In 1862 the total sales of
all the societies of all kinds in the United King-
dom amounted to £2,333,523; in 1870 to £8,201,-
685; in 1880 to £23,248,314; in 1890 to £43731,-
669 ; ill 1900 to £81,020,428. In 1905 there were
1457 retail societies with 2,153,185 members, a
share capital of £26,077,174, total sales of £61,-
086,991, and profits of £9,959^38. Nineteen
stores have annual sales exceeding £400,000 each.
The obvious advantages of buying in large
quantities led to the formation of the North of
England Co-operative Wholesale Society in
1864 which in 1874 amalgamated with a similar
metropolitan body to form the Co-operative
Wholesale Society of England, with head-
quarters at Manchester. Only societies can be
members and each member society must take up
one five-pound share for each 10 of its mem-
bers, such shares being transferable at par. The
general committee of 16 sitting at Manchester
governs the society with the assistance of two
branch committees of eight each at Newcastle
and London. The final authority resides in the
quarterly meeting, which, for sake of conven-
ience, is held in three parts at Manchester, New-
castle and London, each member-society being
entitled to one delegate for each 500 members.
Questions are settled by the total votes at the
three meetings. Goods are sold at slightly over
cost price and the profit divided among the pur-
chasing societies in proportion to their pur-
chases. The Scottish Co-operative Wholesale
Society, established in 1868, is similarly man-
aged, but the member-societies have one vote in
virtue of their membership, one vote for the
first £1,000 of purchases, and one vote for each
additional £2,000. A bonus is paid to employees
at the rate of twice the purchasers' dividend.
The two Wholesale Societies do not compete but
act as each other's agents. There are sale depots
at Leeds, Nottingham, Blackburn, Huddersfield,
Birmingham, Leith, Kilmarnock, and Dundee,
and buying agencies in Ireland, Denmark, Ger-
many, Spain, United States, Canada, etc. In
1905. the two societies had 1,419 members with
£1,660,072 capital, their sales amounted to £27,-
725,207, and their profits to £635,873-

Besides buying and selling at wholesale, the
Wholesale Societies carry on a large amount of
manufacture — boots and shoes, candles, wool-
ens, clothing, furniture, brushes, upholstery,
bedding, butter, flour, lard, jam, tobacco and
printing by the English society; flour, tweeds,
blankets, tailoring, shirts, mantles, furniture,
boots and shoes, hosiery, brushes, preserves,
confectionery, tobacco, fish-curing and printing
by the Scottish Society. The output of the
English Society's productive works in rox)5 was
valued at £3,543.501, and of the Scottish Society
at £1,042,321. The two societies own tea planta-
tions in Ceylon, and the Scottish Society is now
considering the purchase of a tract of land in
Canada for wheat growing. The English So-
ciety conducts a banking department for the
distributive stores and its turnover in 1905 was
£98,990,831. The Co-operative Newspaper So-
ciety is another federal institution owned by
co-operative societies. It publishes the Co-



operative News, the weekly organ of the move-
ment. The Co-operative Insurance Society is
another € society of societies' doing mainly fire
insurance of society buildings, £22,000,000 of
property being so insured. The United Baking
Society of Glasgow (capital £130,372, sales
£482,544 in 1905) and eight corn mills (capital
£347,071, sales £1,364,527 in 1905) are : also pro-
ductive societies, federations of ordinary stores.
Production to the amount of several million >
sterling is carried on by ordinary distributive
societies, mainly in flour and baking, 19456 per-
sons being employed in production, and much
activity is also shown by many societies in
building houses to be sold or leased to members.
The total investments of the stores in "house
property* (including presumably their own
buildings) is £6,576,217.

A large section of co-operators has always
held that co-operation, which did not include
a co-partnership with labor, was only a mas-
querade. To the Owenite communities suc-
ceeded the Redemptionist Societies "for carry-
ing out the practice of associative labor," whicb
had a brief life about 1850. The Christian So-
cialists— Kingsley, Maurice, Ludlow, Neale — in
1848-52 established some twelve "self-governing
workshops* in which the employees were to
supply capital : management, and labor. Next
in the early sixties came the "Oldham Coops.,*
joint-stock cotton spinning companies in which
the shares were mainly held by operatives, but
they degenerated into ordinary companies. Ef-
forts at founding manufacturing societies were
persistent, and the wholesale and distributive
societies and trade-unions lost large sums of
money.; 275 societies established before 1880
were extinct in 1882, leaving only eight corn-
mills and 25 other societies. In 1884 the Labor
Association was founded to promote productive
societies on the basis of a co-partnership of
labor and capital, the workers being entitled of
right to a share of profit and being at liberty
to invest their savings in shares. The mortal-
ity among societies continued high despite brisk
propaganda — 139 societies disappearing between
1880 and 1898. In 1905 there were 131 *pro-
ductive societies* (excluding the federal corn-
mills, the United Baking Society of Glasgow*
and the Co-operative Newspaper Company)
with 27,813 members, £409,054 share capital,
£1,316,126 sales, and £68,051 profits. Losses
were made by 23 societies, and of 91 making
profits, 72 gave part to capital, 35 part to labor,
and 37 part to purchasers. The Co-operative
Production Federation was started to aid the
societies with capital and prevent overlapping.
Eighteen textile societies had sales of £456,100
and 22 boot and shoe societies had sales
amounting to £272,935; 16 metal working so-
cieties had sales of £92,886 and 14 building so-
cieties sales of £92,825. A new branch of activ-
ity is the "Co-partnership Tenant's Movement*
for building and owning houses which has es-
tablished since 1888 many co-operative colonies ;
there are now eight societies, of which four are
active with £82,600 capital. In agriculture there
are now 125 societies with 10,000 members and
£250,000 turnover; they consist of farmers and
small holders, buy seed and manures and sell
produce for their members. On the whole they



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GREAT BRITAIN — FACTORY LEGISLATION



belong 1 to a different class from the ordinary
working-class societies. Finally, there is to be
mentioned the Co-operative Union, started in
1869, which carries on propaganda through its
district committees and the United Board
formed of representatives of the sectional
boards. It is also the parliamentary organ of
the movement and devotes much labor to organ-
ization and education. Under its auspices is
held an annual congress of co-operative so-
cieties at which matters of interest to the
movement are discussed, but the resolutions
carried thereat have no mandatory force. The
Woman's Co-operative Guild, started in 1883,
had, in May 1006, 424 branches and 22,077
members; it lias done much education work
among woman members of stores and has been
specially active hi organizing special stores in
very poor districts.

Bibliography.— Holyoake, G. J., < History of
Co-operation in England > (1885, 2 vols.) ; Jones,
Benjamin, <Co-operative Production (1894, 2
vols.); Potter, Beatrice (Mrs. Sidney Webb),
<The Co-operative Movement in Great Britain'
(1893) ; f Co-operative Congress Annual Re-
port > ; < Co-operative Wholesale Societies An-
imal > ; Lovett, William, <Life and Struggles'
(1876) ; Owen, Robert, < Autobiography > (1857) ;
*An Explanation of the Causes of Distress*
(1821); Podmore, F., <Robert Owen> (1906, 2
vols.) ; Acland, A. H. D., and Jones, B., <Work-
ingmen Co-operators > (1884); Holyoake, G. J.,
<Rochdale Pioneers> (1893); <The Co-oper-
ative News* for reports of meetings; H. D.
Lloyd, <Labor Co-partnership > (1899); H.
Vivian, <Co-operative Production* (1900) ; <Co-
operator's Year Book.*

Henry W. Macrosty,
Lecturer on Economics, School of Economics
and Political Science, University of Lon-
don; Author of 'Trusts and the State,*
etc.

29. Great Britain — Factory Legislation.

In the year 1784, there raged at Radcliffe, near
Manchester, an epidemic fever in the cotton
spinning works, where long hours of labor and
a total absence of sanitation had undermined
the strength of the juvenile operatives. The
conditions of work in the Radcliffe Mills were
not worse than those prevailing throughout the
neighboring industrial district, in which the
new factories were multiplying fast. The epi-
demic of fever was but one among many sim-
ilar epidemics. But when, at the request of
the Lancashire Justices of the Peace, this par-
ticular outbreak was investigated by a com-
mittee of Manchester doctors, and when the
leading physician among them, Dr. Thomas
Percival, and the Chairman of the Quarter Ses-
sions, Thomas Butterworth Bay ley, persuaded
their fellow magistrates that the gravity and
rapid diffusion of the sickness really arose from
the € putrid effluvia* of the ^numbers crowded
together* in the new mills* and the a injury done
to young persons through confinement and too
long continued labor,* they were* dose to the
discovery of the great device of factory legis-
lation. At once the Manchester Justices, who
were not at that date pecuniarily interested in
cotton mills, decided henceforth to refuse to
allow the 'indentures of parish apprentices
whereby they shall be bound to owners of cot-



ton mills and other works in which children
arc obliged to work in the night or more than
10 hours in the day.*' In 1796, Dr. Percival
and his friends definitely formulated certain
resolutions, in which they again drew atten-
tion to the physical and moral evils of ex-
cessive hours of labor, of the unsanitary con-
ditions of the factories and of night work;
and in which they proposed, a if other methods
appear not likely to effect the purpose,* that
Parliament should enact a a general system of
laws for the wise, humane and equal govern-
ment of all such works.* Here we have ex-
pressly suggested the expediency of factory
legislation. Within half a dozen years the
first tiny instalment of that legislation— the
•Health and Morals of Apprentices Act, 1802*
— had, at the instance of the greatest mill owner
of the time, (Sir Robert Peel), passed into
law. This experimental legislation of 1802,
expanded by Robert Owen in 1815 into a gen-
eral principle of industrial government, and
applied in tentative instalments by successive
generations of unwilling statesmen^ has spread
to every industrial community in the Old
World and the New. Of all the 19th cen-
tury inventions in social organization, factory
legislation is the most widely diffused. The
opening of the 20th century finds it prevailing:
over a larger area than the public library or
the savings bank; it is, perhaps, more far
reaching if not more ubiquitous, than even the
public elementary school or the policeman.

It is sometimes said that England has lost
the lead in factory legislation; that New Zea-
land and several of the Australian states far
outstrip her; and that in one respect or an-
other France, Germany, Switzerland, and even
Austria, surpass the United Kingdom in the
protection of labor. This is not the place to
examine into the accuracy of these assertions.
It is by no means easy to ascertain, even from
the laws of a country, exactly what national
minimum it proposes to enforce, in all the
varied circumstances of place and process, age
and sex. Still less easy is it to discover to
what extent the law is really obeyed and en-
forced. Though the policy of a national mini-
mum is, in the United Kingdom, as yet most
inadequately embodied in law, and most im-
perfectly enforced, yet it may well be that the
scope of the factory legislation is, taken as
a whole, and as applied in actual practice, more
extensive than that of any other state.

What is often overlooked is that the law
on the subject is, in the United Kingdom, not
contained in any single code, or in any one act
of Parliament, but has to be collected from
among seven different branches of English law.
There is first the law as to sanitation, which
applies to factories as to other places, and is
administered by the Town Council or other
local governing: body under the supervision
and, more or less, the control of the local Gov-
ernment Board. With this we may name the
law as to education, with its incidental restric-
tions on the employment of children under 14*
enforced by the Town and County Council
under the supervision of the Board of Educa-
tion. It is partly in connection with educa-
tion, too, though partly also in connection whh
the prevention of cruelty to children, that the
Town and County Councils are empowered to



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GREAT BRITAIN —FACTORY LEGISLATION



make by-laws, subject to the approval of the
Home Office, regulating or prohibiting the em-
ployment of children and young persons under
16 in certain occupations. The law regulat-
ing the conditions of employment as such is
itself scattered over five distinct series of acts
of Parliament, relating respectively to (a) fac-
tories and workshops generally, including all
manufacturing industries, laundries, docks and
works of engineering; administered partly by
the Home Office itself and partly by the local
governing bodies under the Local Government
Board; (b) mines, administered wholly by the
Home Office; (c) retail shops, administered
wholly by the local government bodies, under
the Local Government Board; (d) ships, and
(e) railways, both administered wholly by the
Board of Trade.

The principle underlying this mass of com-
plicated and detailed legislation — a principle
which was not consciously present to the mind
of its early advocates, and one which is still
only grudgingly admitted — is the establishment
and enforcement of a ^national minimum* in the
circumstances of employment, below which it
is judged to be inexpedient, in the permanent
interests of the community as a whole, that any
person should be employed. *The ultimate end
of factory legislation* approvingly wrote the
Times of 12 June 1874, <( is to prescribe con-
ditions of existence below which population
shall not decline. * This compulsory national
minimum is naturally a rising one. *Every
society is judged, and survives,* aptly said Mr.
Asquith in 1901, ^according to the material and
moral minimum which it prescribes to its mem-
bers.*

It would be an interesting and supremely
useful subject for graduate study to discover
what is the national minimum which the vari-
ous civilized states of the world, now actually
prescribe, by compulsory law, to the various
grades and classes of citizens, in the different
circumstances of their respective employments.
To do this even for the United Kingdom would
require much more than the space here avail-
able. The student would find that the sys-
tem of regulation which began, in 1802, with
the protection of the tiny class of pauper ap-
prentices in textile mills low includes within
its scope every manual worker ii* every manu-
facturing industry. From sanitation and the



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 33 of 185)