Largest Circulation of Any Evening Paper in the Kingdom.
LONDON. MONDAY, 29 OCTOBER, 1888.
A DAY or two ago "a poorly but respectably dressed old man, cleanly in appearance, and with well blacked shoes," strayed into the premises of the People's Palace dying of starvation. He was taken to the London Hospital, but help came too late, and a few hours afterwards he was dead. It is a tragic incident of our city life, and points to sad lack of efficient organisation of our luxurious society. Granted that this poor old man belonged to the class it is the most difficult to help, to those who, when suffering from desperate destitution, would rather die than make their position known - still there ought to be some means of getting at them, of helping them before help is unavailing.
WE are glad to print an excellent article on "The Sweating Question and its Remedies," from the Rev. J. Page Hopps, whose clear head and good heart are always at the service of the democracy. The discussion on "The moral of the murders" is, in point of fact, nothing more than a revival of the old sweating controversy, which has dropped out of sight of late, but which has, in our opinion, been the most important guide to the labor question which has been offered to the public since the report of Lord Shaftesbury's Commission on child labor. The two problems involved in the inquiry are indeed essentially one and the same - namely, the inability of unorganised and unskilled labor to protect itself against capital organised on a particularly hard and anti-human plan.
MR. HOPPS strikes at the root of the question when he says that the undue aggregation of capital must be met by the aggregation of labor, in other words by unionism on the one side, and co-operative industry on the other. What ultimate form this co-operative industry is to take is, of course, a problem for the statesman as well as the social reformer. In the meantime a little may be done on the 4 per cent. philanthropy system. The foulness of the sweaters' dens, and the hard unfriendly mechanical relations of the sweaters' "boss" to his hands, may be replaced by the cleanliness, the order, and the genial associations which might spring up in a co-operative clothing or cabinet-making company. Of course behind these excellent enterprises lies the double danger of successful competition by the sweaters, and of driving the trade in cheap sweater-made goods abroad, where the standard of living among the workers is even lower than among us. But such experiments are always worth trying, as doing much to bring out the gentler and more human forces of society in place of the grinding and money-making ones.
The Jews claim a Florence Nightingale. The Jewish Standard says that Coralie Cohen, who was an angel of mercy during the last Franco-German War, and who passed unharmed among the wounded in the two hostile camps, belongs to the Hebrew race. She is a Knight of the Legion of Honor, and has just been elected president of that patriotic body - the Association des Dames Francaises.
A New Bond-street tradesman writes : - A boy with a Star placard was roughly used at the corner of Bond-street to-day (Saturday) by a policeman. Whether it was because he had the obnoxious paper for sale or not I cannot say, but I think, for the sake of fair play, that these things should be known.
A "Star" Man Sees the Sabbath Labors of the Bethnal-green Bumble.
Utterly regardless of the warning recently given by Mr. Montagu Williams, the Bethnal-green Vestry were busily engaged yesterday morning through their representative, the sanitary inspector of the parish, in hunting the unfortunate costermongers from the neighborhood of Sclater-street and Brick-lane. Some of the traders commenced business early, and earned a few pence before the operations of the day commenced. Almost exactly at the hour of eleven, an individual clad in a costume of bottle-green hue, and attended by a small posse of policemen, made his appearance in Sclater-street, and commenced the unenviable task of dispersing the little army of traders among them, many who have for years
in the neighborhood. Short shrift indeed was meted out to the costers, who were peremptorily commanded to pack up and be "gone about their business." The men were not even permitted to remain in the neighborhood to dispose of their perishable goods. The pursuit - for such it was of the flying and unresisting costermongers - was carried on across the Bethnal-green-road and into Shacklewell and Peter and Mount-streets. Having effectually spoiled the markets of these poor creatures for the day, the official in bottle-green once more betook himself to Brick-lane, and proceeded to hunt up the stragglers. The police were evidently ashamed of the part they were compelled to play in the proceedings.
while dejectedly moving away with a few pairs of dilapidated boots, said to a Star man, "It's all I've got, sir, and my boy's away at sea." The patience of the people was beyond all praise. No resistance to the decree of Bumbledom was offered; the men and women moved on only tried to dispose of their goods at a safe distance from the Vestry official. He, full of eagerness, extended his researches down Mount-street, and compelled the petty tradesmen there - the retailers of second-hand clothing and faded household goods - to carry all their belongings inside their houses, impervious to the blandishments of a dame who besought him to
A widow said she could earn 10s. if allowed to display her goods outside the door of her shop, "but bless you, they won't come in to see what's there," she added mournfully. Sclater-street is principally occupied by dealers in birds, and the Sunday morning market is quite an important one. Many of the dealers accustomed to go there had sought pastures new; those who had the temerity to go shared the fate of the traders in Brick-lane, and were remorselessly moved on. The bottle-green official had so far learnt his lesson. The neighboring tradesmen are sufferers from the persecution; the market attracted many buyers from a distance, and was a distinct gain to the district. A meeting will be held in School Hall, Abbey-street, at eight on Wednesday evening, to protest against this treatment of the costermongers; and this, it is to be hoped, will have some effect upon those vestrymen who will shortly have to appeal to the suffrages of their fellow-parishioners.
On Guy Fawkes Day the unemployed intend to carry an effigy of Sir Charles Warren in procession from Hyde-park to Clerkenwell-green. It is to be burned at the later place.
Between eleven and twelve yesterday morning, the police had a fine time in Red Lion Court, Fleet-street. In the Red Lion Inn they found a number of people standing before the bar. The names of over 20 men and a woman were taken down. A reporter called this morning and saw the landlord, who gave the following highly interesting account of the proceedings. He had a lodger, he said, who happened to go out of the house during the morning and unfortunately left the front door of the bar open. Seeing the opportunity, a crowd of people, who at the moment happened to be in the court within sight of the door, made a rush for it and forced their way in. He reasoned with them, and endeavored to persuade them that they ought not to want things to drink during church time, but they would not go out. Whilst he was in the middle of his temperance lecture the police opportunely arrived and took the names. He expects to be summoned over the matter, but, strong in the consciousness of right, he maintains a cheerful mind.
A laborer named James Hall, aged 24, while walking along White Hart-lane, Bethnal-green, about midnight on Saturday, was attacked by a man, who knocked him down and stabbed him in the throat. He was removed to the London Hospital in an unconscious state. His assailant is at large.
FORTUNE-TELLERS STILL FLOURISH.
Police Spies Put an End to Mrs. Tanner's Profitable Business.
The police have trapped a fortune-teller, in the person of Sarah Tanner, 53, a married woman, of 49, Rowsell-street, Bow-common. Two officers, set to work in consequence of letters of complaint sent to Sir Charles Warren, got Sarah Ann Bromley and her daughter to act as decoys. When the women went to 49, Rowsell-street, Tanner's daughter opened the door and told them they must go away for an hour, as her mother was then "telling one, and two more were waiting." She cautiously directed them not to wait about the street for fear they should be noticed. The decoys went back to the house at the end of an hour, but the lucky fortune-teller was
with a lady. They waited, however, until the "lady" came out; then a bell was rung, and they were ushered into the fortune-teller's sanctum. There was a pack of cards on the table, and these Miss Bromley was directed to shuffle and cut into three lots. Mrs. Tanner having looked at the cards told Miss Ada she was miserable on August Bank Holiday, but that she would have a wedding bed in December. She also said that she would have two wedding rings, and wrote down some dates which she was to watch. Prisoner also said to her, "Come and see me after Christmas again." She told the girl a lot more things, and then said, "You must do the doll trick. I want a drop of whisky. I'll give you a shilling, and you send for it." When the "servant" had been sent for the whisky the girl asked Tanner what was her charge. She replied 6d., and it was paid her. Mrs. Tanner gave Mrs. Bromley a drop of whisky and said, "You can come again and bring someone else to see me." One of the two detectives who sent Miss Bromley and her mother to the fortune-teller, said that while they were inside some other women went to the door, and Tanner's daughter said to them
now. You must come again." After Mrs. and Miss Bromley left, the women were let into the house. When arrested, Tanner said, "I have been doing it, but I'll give you my word I won't do it again. In a desk in the front parlor were found two packs of cards, "Napoleon's Book of Fate," and a number of pieces of paper, on which were written dates. Tanner said they were the dates the people had got to look after. Before the Thames magistrate to-day, Mr. Young said, in Tanner's defence, it was difficult to believe people believed in fortune-telling. The magistrate, however, sentenced Tanner to one month's imprisonment for getting money by telling people "utter nonsense." It seems to be a profitable game, if you can go on undetected. Mrs. Tanner told Mrs. Bromley that her mother, who lived for 90 years, lived by it.
A well-dressed man of middle age was this morning found dead, with his throat cut, in a lavatory at Clapham Junction Station.
GLENNIE ON TRIAL AT THE OLD BAILEY.
Mr. Poland Prosecutes Him for Causing the Death of Mrs. Wright, and Explains the Law which would Make a Slight Assault Murder.
It is some five months since the alleged murder at Canonbury, and till within the last few weeks it looked probable that the death of Mrs. Wright would form one more crime in respect of which retribution had failed to swoop on the perpetrator. But that deadly blunder, the taking of a woman into confidence, served the cause of justice, and this morning, before Justice Cave, the young man, Henry Glennie, was put upon his trial, the indictment charging him with the wilful murder of Frances Maria Wright.
Mr. Poland and Mr. Mead conducted the prosecution on behalf of the Crown, while it was with a comparatively unknown, but nevertheless able man, Mr. W. Austen Metcalfe, that the fearful responsibility rested of doing all that human ingenuity could suggest to save the prisoner's neck from the gallows. Glennie's age was recorded in the calendar as 24 years, and he was described as of imperfect education. He claimed to follow the trade of gasfitting and plumbing. He was put up with several other prisoners, in order that they might simultaneously witness the swearing of the jury, and while his fellow prisoners looked surly and sudden,
all over the court, scanned the jurors individually, and cast wistful glances at the judge, his every movement indicating coolness and self-possession. Indeed, his counsel seemed a good deal more fidgetty than did the prisoner himself.
Mr. Poland opened the case in his well-known scrupulously moderate manner, pressing nothing unduly, and concealing no circumstances which appeared to tell in the prisoner's favor. He recounted how on 16 May, Mrs. Wright, aged 71, the wife of a bank clerk, was alone in her house, 19, Canonbury-terrace, when two men, of whom the prisoner was alleged to be one, called at the house on the pretence of having to see to the water or gas fittings, giving color to that fiction by carrying a tool bag. They were let in, a scream was immediately heard, and the prisoner and his comrade were shortly after observed to run away. Mrs. Wright's body was then found lying in the passage, and although a doctor had stated that she had heart disease so badly that
yet he believed that after hearing the whole of the evidence the jury would be of opinion that she was subjected to more than fright, and that she had, in fact, inflicted on her some violence, although it was not, perhaps, intended to have so serious a result. An instance of Mr. Poland's great fairness occurred in his dealing with the evidence of Phoebe Field, the informer. She was, he said, a girl leading an immoral life, and they would, therefore, have to scrutinise her testimony with very great care. Moreover, the prisoner might have wanted himself to appear in the girl's eyes as somebody of importance from his connection with the murder. But, on the other hand, he urged the jury to remember that persons leading immoral lives did not always perjure themselves on matters of no real or direct interest to themselves; and to suppose that a girl could be so dreadfully wicked as to invent a story in order to convict this man was something awful to contemplate. They would have to decide whether the evidence of this female and the other one in the case who would give similar evidence was merely a vindictive story, or whether it bore internal traces of its reasonableness and truthfulness. With regard to the question as to whether the case was one of
if the prisoner knocked Mrs. Wright down intending to rob her, and so caused her death, there was no question but that according to the law of England, although he had no knowledge of the old lady's bad heart disease, he would be guilty of murder.
The first evidence called was for the purpose of proving the accuracy of the plans of the house, which were put in. Then Mr. Wright, the widower of deceased, repeated his painful story, as related by him at the proceedings which had led up to this trial. He said the mark over his wife's eye when he saw her body (the mark supposed to have been caused by a blow from the prisoner) was very slight and trifling. He knew the woman Dominey, one of the witnesses in the case, had worked for Mrs. Wright as charwoman, disappearing once for about twelve months, and then returning again.
When Mr. Metcalfe got up to cross-examine the witness, every ear was strained in the hopes that his questions might reveal the line of his defence to some extent. That hope, however, was not realised, for all he asked was whether the woman Dominey had a character when she came to Mrs. Wright, which witness could not answer, and whether he ever knew a woman of the name of White as a charwoman at his house, in reply to which he said he did not know the name at all.
the petite Frenchwoman who saw the two men call at Mrs. Wright's house, said she heard three cries when the men were admitted. She pluckily ran across the road from her own house to Mrs. Wright's, and knocked; and upon failing to get the door reopened, she went for a policeman. Thereupon the two men came out and ran off. Witness could not identify the prisoner as one of the two men, but the bag produced she recognised as the one which one of the men carried on his shoulder, and threw away in the pursuit.
the brave countrywoman of the last witness who followed the two men as they ran, stated that she saw the bag thrown away by one of them. She did not see the faces of the men, but thought the prisoner was about the same age and height as the man who carried the bag.
Mr. Metcalfe asked the witness if she was not within two or three yards of the men during her pursuit. - Witness admitted that that was so, but said she could not identify after so great a lapse of time as this, although she felt sure she could have a day or two after the occurrence.
The evidence of John Jones, carman, in the employ of Marshall and Snelgrove, was important, for he was the only witness so far who swore, to the best of his belief, that the prisoner was one of the men who were chased from Canonbury-terrace. Jones, who is an intelligent young man, was standing just near the place with his van, and the prisoner ran within a few yards of him.
It was now evident that Mr. Metcalf would
but his cross-examination failed to shake the belief of witness that the occupant of the dock was the man who ran from Madame Chefdeville.
George Wilson, employed at Laycock's dairy, said he was talking to the last witness, Jones, at the time in question. Witness saw the face of the man who ran from the French lady, and though he would not swear positively to the prisoner, he thought he was "as near like the man as possible."
Mrs. Johanna Rowe, past whom the man with the bag ran as she stood at her gate in Astey's-row, said she had picked the prisoner out from 15 or 16 other men at the police station, and she believed he was the man who ran with the bag.
Arthur Amos, a scaffolder, who was at work in River-street at the time of the occurrence only went so far as to say the prisoner was "a good deal like the man" who ran. In cross-examination, he said he thought the man was dark, whereas Glennie is fair with reddish whiskers and beard, and a slight yellow moustache, which he has a habit of stroking, either with his handkerchief or with the quill pen with which he was supplied for making notes while in the dock.
was the next witness, not the well-known writer with the pseudonym of "The Amateur Casual," but a doctor in practice in Canonbury-square. He said the blow over Mrs. Wright's eye was not caused by any instrument, but was probably done either by a blow with a fist or a fall. She died of disease of the heart, in witness's opinion either a blow or a shock being quite enough to have caused the failure of the action of her heart.
Inspector Mitchell said nothing appeared to have been disturbed in the house, except that one drawer was open; and in deceased's pocket he found carefully pinned by six or eight pins in one corner the sum of £17 10s. in gold. Mr. Wright knew nothing of her possession of so much money in her pocket.
Dr. Greenwood, recalled, said, in answer to the judge, that from the position in which the body was originally found he thought that the mark over the eye was more probably caused by a blow than by a fall.
Henry Brand, who had been employed by the Eagle Range Company as a gas fitter and smith, said the prisoner was also employed by the company as laborer. The bag produced was the one the prisoner was in the habit of using. Just before his arrest the prisoner had called on witness, and asked him to buy some tools he had to sell, tools which were, some of them, different to those he was in the habit of using. He said they were left him by his father, who, witness believed, was an engineer.
George Mack, another Eagle Range employee, also proved that the bag was the prisoner's. Then
was called, and the interest in the case, which had not hitherto been great, at once revived. She is a good-looking young woman, with dark hair, expressive eyes, and well-cut features; and had she been better dressed her appearance would have been decidedly attractive. But she was but poorly clad, with an unbecoming black hat decked out with great red feathers, and her whole style was suggestive of the class who are by a bitter, if unintentional, sarcasm called "gay." She said she had passed by the name of Mrs. Hooker, and had done charing at Mrs. Wright's. A girl named Amy White had gone with her to Mrs. Wright's house, and witness got to know the prisoner by seeing him with Amy White. One Saturday night, some months after Mrs. Wright's death, witness met the prisoner and Amy White in the Pentonville-road. Before this witness had had words with Amy White, and on seeing the two together she called out that she would have them locked up for the murder of Mrs. Wright. The prisoner and Amy White walked away without making any reply.
How did she come to say that? asked the Judge, and witness's reply was that she suspected Glennie of the deed. The next time she saw Glennie was in the Caledonian-road, when he was alone. Witness told him that the police had been to her mother's house about the murder, and Glennie replied that he did not know why. Witness replied that she knew nothing about Mrs. Wright's death, and the prisoner replied, "Then they can't touch you." The prisoner went on to say that he went to Mrs. Wright's house and struck her, and when he felt her a few minutes after she was cold. He said
so that he might "go over" the house.
The witness gave this damning evidence in a low voice, and with some reluctance, evidently feeling that her words might be putting the rope round the neck of a man with whom she was once on the terms of the closest intimacy. It was in a more cheerful tone that she added that the prisoner told her he was very sorry for what he had done, and that he had no intention of doing it.
Did you make any promise to him? asked Mr. Poland.
"Yes," said the girl, "I said I would tell no one."
Did you ask him who the other man was? - Yes, but he would not tell me. He made me no answer.
Cross-examined by Mr. Metcalf, witness said there was a Mr. Hooker, who was the father of her two children, but she had not seen him for a year.
Have you not heard where he is? - I have heard he is in prison.
Have you ever been charged with anything yourself? - No.
Not with stealing boots? - I was along with a young woman that had the boots, but I was not charged with stealing. I was taken along with her.
Then you gave evidence against that woman? - No, I did not. We were both remanded together for two days, and then the judge thought I had done long enough.
How long had Amy White been living in the same house as you? - Oh, she was there before I went there.
Do you know where Amy White is now? - No, I don't.
How have you been living lately? - I have been receiving
Sergt. Mackenzie brings it.
Do you represent that you knew Glennie intimately before May? - Yes, I used to speak to him.
How old is Hooker? - The same age as myself, I believe, 21.
Is he dark or fair? - Fair. He is rather stout and about my height. He was away at the time of the murder.
"Yes," said Mr. Metcalfe, "I thought you would say that; you see I did not ask you that."
The Judge: Where was he?
Witness: In prison in the country somewhere, I think, but I don't know where.
Twenty-one Days for a "Jack the Ripper."
"I'm Jack the Ripper," shouted Frederick Dunbar, 48, a hairdresser, of King-street, Somers Town, while drunk in Bayham-street, Camden Town. He was taken to the police-station, and about a thousand persons gathered around. - Dunbar, in defence, before the Clerkenwell magistrate, said he was sorry for what had occurred. He had taken too much to drink. - Mr. Bros: You have made a fool of yourself, and I will send you to prison for 21 days with hard labour.
Catherine Harris, a middle-aged woman, was charged at Marlborough-street with begging in Piccadilly. The constable stated that when gentlemen declined to buy her flowers she asked them for 6d. for a night's lodging. The prisoner denied that she was begging. The reason she came into Piccadilly instead of remaining in the Strand, where she was never molested, was that the "swells" and "fast women" paid her better prices for her flowers than other people did. The police at the West-end persecuted her more than if she were a murderer. Mr. Hannay sentenced her to 10 days' imprisonment.
This morning the body of a man embedded in the mud on the foreshore of the Thames, close to St. Paul's Pier, was found. It was that of a man of about 40, and 5ft. high. He was very poorly dressed.
Some Suggestions of Mr. John Page Hopps on the Question.
For all practical purposes we have heard enough of "the bitter cry," and we know as much as we need to know of the sweater's greed and his victim's wrongs. No thoughtful reader of the distressing revelations made during the late inquiry will need to be argued into sympathy or to be convinced that thousands of poor creatures in London are agonising in what we may, without any irreverence, call their Garden of Gethsemane. It is to be hoped that we are passing from the stage of indignation and shame to the stage of cool consideration. It will not do to end with raving at the "slave-drivers," or cursing political economy, any more than it will do to end with howling at the rich or clamoring for the application of some rough-and-ready socialist remedy. We must look all the facts in the face, and seek a sober and businesslike remedy for anything that is wrong.
What has happened is that the natural and inevitable conditions of human life are altered. Moderate towns have grown into great cities, and great cities mean an intensification of the struggle for life, the separation of classes, increased speculation,
the swift, and the daring, and smaller chances for the slow, the weak, and the timid. They mean, too, swollen enterprises and mechanical methods, even in dealing with flesh and blood. All this means doing everything on a large scale, and dealing with human beings in the mass, and not as individuals. Everywhere the big fish are eating the little fish, and the saying of Holy writ is being verified with grim significance, that "to him who hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance, and from him who hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."
It is useless to howl at this. It is a great fact of modern life, and it has come in an orderly sequence of events, chiefly depending upon the growth of great cities, and the slow decadence of chance or hope in relation to rural pursuits. What we have to deal with, then, is a natural law which for the present is working disastrously for the many, while it tends to enrich the few. No one is to blame. In one sense, the few can no more help it than the many.
The real problem is how to harness the altered circumstances so that they shall work for us, and not wound us. The disunited many are getting more and more powerless, and to-day, as a rule, the only chance of the unit is combination in some way. He can no longer take his work, as an individual, to an individual, and dispose of it. He must be aggregated in order to be adapted to the new style of doing business. But that is just where the shoe pinches. He is aggregated; he does not combine. What happens is that he falls into the hands of an organiser - of a shrewd, sharp, competent drill sergeant, or "captain of industry" (but not of Carlyle's type), and so forms part of an army.
It is a tremendous question, and will not be fully answered just yet. The first answers must be mainly negative. The wrong roads will have to be exhausted before we find out the right. The first thing to see is what cannot be done, and what cannot be helped. For instance, the remedy that seems the easiest and the speediest is just the remedy that may most aggravate the disease. These sorrowful campaigners have indeed to fight the battle of life, and anything that would tend to curb alertness, to hinder self-reliance, to check energy, to restrain resolution, would only make their poor chance poorer still. One of the worst things to do, then, is to give alms. It seems a hard and cruel conclusion to come to, but it is necessary, though, of course, it is also very necessary to say that there are many exceptions. Extreme youth and extreme age, prolonged sickness and sudden calamity will, let us hope, always plead for mercy not in vain; but every case of "charity" should be treated as a strict exception to a solid rule. Half-a-crown given on Monday will, in most cases, only stave off the old need until Wednesday or soon after; and, every time it is given, the path of least resistance will be this path of "charity," and that is the path of pauperism, as sure as fate. It is a fatal lesson to teach anyone that there is an easier way of getting a shilling than earning it.
Almost as hopeless is the remedy that turns upon
for idle hands. It may, indeed, happen that work which can wait can be properly put aside for an idle time, and can then be turned to in the hours of need, but the possibility of such a case is rare, and no practical man will see much real economy in it. In times of distress, it is common enough to hear it said that roads somewhere want making, that earth wants excavating, and the like; but ask the borough surveyor or the engineer what he thinks of work artificially provided - what he thinks, for instance, of putting on distressed cabinet makers and impoverished tailors, or even frozen-out masons, to excavate a sewer or make a road.
The root of the present trouble we found in the loss of individuality, and of the power of the individual, and in the need of aggregation. Very well, then, let us have aggregation of the right kind. The aggregation achieved by the sweater is the aggregation of the helpless many by the very potent few. The remedy for that is combination. A glimpse of this led to the formation of trade unions. The weak workers felt it necessary to combine and protect themselves from the dominant and dangerous power of the masters who held the keys; and the unionists were right, as even the majority of masters confess. The late troubles at Bryant and May's were really sweaters' troubles; and the remedy has been sought in a union. That remedy is all very well so far as it goes, but a trade union as at present constituted is really very little more than a combination for possible battle.
The same right instinct led to what was at one time the hopeful experiment of industrial co-operation; and it is by no means clear that hope in this direction ought to be abandoned.
especially true industrial co-operation, requires, patience, forbearance, resolution, and administrative skill; and perhaps the day for the adequate manifestation of these qualifications amongst the workers is not yet, but it may yet come to pass that Labor and Capital - even with a preponderance of Labor - will combine to spread the rewards of industry more evenly over the whole of those who are concerned in it, and to take from toil the sting of serfdom which must always remain while the worker knows how really helpless he is to resist. But something else is possible. The sweater is, as we have seen, a kind of necessity in his way. He is the organiser and director of helpless labor. Granted. Then what we have to do is to provide the right kind of sweater, and to take care that in this Gethsemane of toil the sweat shall not be as "great drops of blood falling to the ground." How? There is plenty of work to do; and these poor toilers in Egypt only need guiding to the promised land. The big companies, taking the place of the comparatively small masterships, are, to a considerable extent, the cause of our present trouble. Well, then, let us have companies, answering, in spirit and effect, to those which have provided the well-paying industrial dwellings, not on charitable but on strictly
Why, for instance, should there not be a manufacturing company for cabinet workers, for the organisation and directing of what is now done by gangs of sweaters, to the extreme loss of helpless labor? The plant need not be in any way costly, and everything like display should be stedfastly resisted. Workshops of the simplest possible character would be needed, with cheap comforts and civilised arrangements. Competent, practical men at home and abroad would be required to regulate labor and dispose of its results; with, of course, a small board of keenly interested men. The enterprise could be floated with very little capital, and with very little risk of failure, so long as business principles and methods steered it. There are, indeed, reasons for believing that work done under such conditions would be more than usually productive and valuable, and one of the marketable advantages of it (especially in relation to all kinds of clothing) would be that work so done would be less likely to be tainted with the contaminations that are undoubtedly connected with the present foul methods of production. The sweater's occupation would be gone, and with it the sweater's foulness and squalor; and, in many ways, the worker would be advantaged. Let capital foreswear everything over an honest four or five per cent., and let as much of the work of direction as possible be done by men of business and for love. So much of charity or philanthropy is entirely admissible.
Now there are hundreds of men and women in London with plenty of time on their hands, with organising and administrative talent lying half idle, and with a fair amount of spare capital at their disposal. Will they try an experiment on the lines indicated? It hardly matters in what direction they turn. Any one of a dozen occupations present a crying need. Dismiss the wrecker, and construct a haven. Give poverty a chance to have what it can earn. At all events give it a chance to steady itself in smooth waters instead of being dashed against the jagged rocks.
"The Moral of the Murders."
The average of these two incomes is about £10,500 a year. Rates, taxes, insurances, ground rents, servants, gas, coal, and washing account for over £2,000; horses, garden, and stable expenses, £1,150. The cost of food and drink (wines of all kinds being under £200), including a few large dinners, accounts for nearly £2,500. Clothing and dress in general amounts to £22,000; while house repairs, decorations, presents, and knick-knacks eat up about £1,250, leaving for travelling and sundry other expenses under £1,200.
Now, suppose there are 1,000 such households in London that by some "political method" (your own words on 5 Oct.) are reduced to a modest income of £500 a year each - how many workers will be workless, to be soon rendered homeless? At least 10,000 domestic servants (male and female), grooms and gardeners, over 200 tradesmen, such as tailors, dressmakers, hatters, shoemakers, jewellers, trunk-makers, upholsterers, decorators, stationers, fruiterers, poulterers, and others who supply food luxuries, most of whom in turn employ other domestics, porters, clerks, vans, horses, and drivers, &c., &c., to the extent of, say, 5,000 persons. What occupation could you find for these people, but the "offering a terrible temptation to revolution of the violent and useless kind."
Taking this £10,000,000 of income as reduced to £500,000, what benefit would the remaining nine-and-a-half millions do among the four million inhabitants of London, for of course it should be shared equally. It would add one shilling a week to their income. Stupendous! is it not? But as a fact that could not occur, for the 15,000 people thrown out of work with their families will want keeping, and the wages paid to present other workers would be reduced, by this addition to their ranks. This immense sum though could be saved by the people themselves, for they spend as much or more now in alcoholic liquors alone. I grant that much might be done to alleviate the sufferings and misery of the very poor, but three-fourths of those sufferings are due to drink.
Another set of figures. Suppose the whole income from ground rents throughout the kingdom is £100,000,000, and that is saved to the people by the ruin of the landowners and their half million or more of dependents, you once more get exactly 1s. a week saved from the present expenses of every person; and, on the other side, you have to find some occupation for this frightful addition to your consumers of necessaries, with wages of every kind reduced fearfully - much more, in fact, than the equivalent of the "no rent" arrangement. In what way will you employ those "that the lazy sybarite ceases to employ," and feed and clothe them? You say "we must build as well as pull down," but how and where? It is well known that the larger number of unemployed about us of late years is due to the reduced incomes of landowners who used to spend in London alone at least one million pounds a year more than they can now.
It is all nonsense to say the landlords are at the root of all the poverty and the cause of such crime and misery at the East-end. More than two-thirds the large incomes of the country have nothing to do with land in any shape or form. If all the uncultivated land in Great Britain could be put into cultivation, it would not produce all the food required for our people. - I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chelsea, 26 Oct.
As the unemployed were marching in procession down Oxford-street last night, a number of mounted policemen rode rapidly forward on the men. A respectably-dressed man rushed forward in front of the horses, and a number of the unemployed rallied round him. "That's enough of that," shouted the processionists to the police. Up came an inspector, inquiring what was the matter. "Just this," said the leader, "if there's any more of this riding down we'll make short work of you and your men." The inspector ordered his men back, and the procession went on.
A correspondent states that a poor old woman, an inmate of the Islington workhouse, in St. John's-road, Upper Holloway, at dinner last Monday handed her piece of bread to one of the men. For that offence she was ordered bread and water for breakfast next morning. But death intervened, and saved her from punishment.