Home Steel Making Categories Manufacturing and the Economy of Machinery


Accumulating Power
20. Whenever the work to be done requires more force for its ...

Registering Operations
65. One great advantage which we may derive from machinery is...

Of Copying By Casting
105. The art of casting, by pouring substances in a fluid st...

On The Influence Of Durability On Price
197. Having now considered the circumstances that modify what...

On The Causes And Consequences Of Large Factories
263. On examining the analysis which has been given in chapt...

On Combinations Of Masters Against The Public
376. A species of combination occasionally takes place among...

Copying With Elongation
140. In this species of copying there exists but little rese...

On Contriving Machinery
318. The power of inventing mechanical contrivances, and of ...

Regulating Power
27. Uniformity and steadiness in the rate at which machinery ...

Enquiries Previous To Commencing Any Manufactory
298. There are many enquiries which ought always to be made ...

Printing From Surface
91. This second department of printing is of more frequent a...

On The Exportation Of Machinery
437. A few years only have elapsed, since our workmen were n...

On Over Manufacturing
284. One of the natural and almost inevitable consequences of...

On The Effect Of Taxes And Of Legal Restrictions Upon Manufactures
414. As soon as a tax is put upon any article, the ingenuity ...

On The Method Of Observing Manufacturies
160. Having now reviewed the mechanical principles which reg...

On The Influence Of Verification On Price
181. The money price of an article at any given period is us...

Sources Of The Advantages Arising From Machinery And Manufactures
1. There exists, perhaps, no single circumstance which disti...

On A New System Of Manufacturing
305. A most erroneous and unfortunate opinion prevails among...

Of Copying By Punching
133. This mode of copying consists in driving a steel punch ...

Of Printing From Cavities
83. The art of printing, in all its numerous departments, is ...

On The Effect Of Taxes And Of Legal Restrictions Upon Manufactures

Category: On the domestic and political economy of manufactures

414. As soon as a tax is put upon any article, the ingenuity
of those who make, and of those who use it, is directed to the
means of evading as large a part of the tax as they can; and this
may often be accomplished in ways which are perfectly fair and
legal. An excise duty exists at present of 3d.(1*) per pound upon
all writing paper. The effect of this impost is, that much of the
paper which is employed, is made extremely thin, in order that
the weight of a given number of sheets may be as small as
possible. Soon after the first imposition of the tax upon
windows, which depended upon their number, and not upon their
size, new-built houses began to have fewer windows and those of
larger dimensions than before. Staircases were lighted by
extremely long windows, illuminating three or four flights of
stairs. When the tax was increased, and the size of windows
charged as single was limited, then still greater care was taken
to have as few windows as possible, and internal lights became
frequent. These internal lights in their turn became the subject
of taxation; but it was easy to evade the discovery of them, and
in the last Act of Parliament reducing the assessed taxes, they
ceased to be chargeable. From the changes thus successively
introduced in the number the forms, and the positions of the
windows, a tolerable conjecture might, in some instances, be
formed of the age of a house.

415. A tax on windows is exposed to objection on the double
ground of its excluding air and light, and it is on both accounts
injurious to health. The importance of light to the enjoyment of
health is not perhaps sufficiently appreciated: in the cold and
more variable climates, it is of still greater importance than in
warmer countries.

416. The effects of regulations of excise upon our home
manufactures are often productive of great inconvenience; and
check, materially, the natural progress of improvement. It is
frequently necessary, for the purposes of revenue, to oblige
manufacturers to take out a license, and to compel them to work
according to certain rules, and to make certain stated quantities
at each operation. When these quantities are large, as in general
they are, they deter manufacturers from making experiments, and
thus impede improvements both in the mode of conducting the
processes and in the introduction of new materials. Difficulties
of this nature have occurred in experimenting upon glass for
optical purposes; but in this case, permission has been obtained
by fit persons to make experiments, without the interference of
the excise. It ought, however, to be remembered, that such
permission, if frequently or indiscriminately granted, might be
abused: the greatest protection against such an abuse will be
found, in bringing the force of public opinion to bear upon
scientific men and thus enabling the proper authorities, although
themselves but moderately conversant with science, to judge of
the propriety of the permission, from the public character of the

417. From the evidence given, in 1808, before the Committee
of the House of Commons, On Distillation from Sugar and Molasses,
it appeared that, by a different mode of working from that
prescribed by the Excise, the spirits from a given weight of
corn, which then produced eighteen gallons, might easily have
been increased to twenty gallons. Nothing more is required for
this purpose, than to make what is called the wash weaker, the
consequence of which is, that fermentation goes on to a greater
extent. It was stated, however, that such a deviation would
render the collection of the duty liable to great difficulties;
and that it would not benefit the distiller much, since his price
was enhanced to the customer by any increase of expense in the
fabrication. Here then is a case in which a quantity, amounting
to one-ninth of the total produce, is actually lost to the
country. A similar effect arises in the coal trade, from the
effect of a duty, for, according to the evidence before the
House of Commons, it appears that a considerable quantity of the
very best coal is actually wasted. The extent of this waste is
very various in different mines; but in some cases it amounts to

418. The effects of duties upon the import of foreign
manufactures are equally curious. A singular instance occurred in
the United States, where bar-iron was, on its introduction.
liable to a duty of 140 per cent ad valorem, whilst hardware was
charged at 25 per cent only. In consequence of this tax, large
quantities of malleable iron rails for railroads were imported
into America under the denomination of hardware; the difference
of 115 per cent in duty more than counter balancing the expense
of fashioning the iron into rails prior to its importation.

419. Duties, drawbacks, and bounties, when considerable in
amount, are all liable to objections of a very serious nature,
from the frauds to which they give rise. It has been stated
before Committees of the House of Commons, that calicoes made up
in the form, and with the appearance of linen, have frequently
been exported for the purpose of obtaining the bounty, for
calico made up in this way sells only at 1s. 4d. per yard,
whereas linen of equal fineness is worth from 2s. 8d. to 2s. 10d.
per yard. It appeared from the evidence, that one house in six
months sold five hundred such pieces of calico.

In almost all cases heavy duties, or prohibitions, are
ineffective as well as injurious; for unless the articles
excluded are of very large dimensions, there constantly arises a
price at which they will be clandestinely imported by the
smuggler. The extent, therefore, to which smuggling can be
carried, should always be considered in the imposition of new
duties, or in the alteration of old ones. Unfortunately it has
been pushed so far, and is so systematically conducted between
this country and France, that the price per cent at which most
contraband articles can be procured is perfectly well known. From
the evidence of Mr Galloway, it appears that, from 30 to 40 per
cent was the rate of insurance on exporting prohibited machinery
from England, and that the larger the quantity the less was the
percentage demanded. From evidence given in the Report of the
Watch and Clock-makers' Committee, in 1817, it appears that
persons were constantly in the habit of receiving in France
watches, lace, silks, and other articles of value easily
portable, and delivering them in England at ten per cent on their
estimated worth, in which sum the cost of transport and the risk
of smuggling were included.

420. The process employed in manufacturing often depends upon
the mode in which a tax is levied on the materials, or on the
article produced. W atch glasses are made in England by workmen
who purchase from the glass house globes of five or six inches in
diameter, out of which, by means of a piece of red-hot tobacco
pipe, guided round a pattern watch glass placed on the globe,
they crack five others: these are afterwards ground and smoothed
on the edges. In the Tyrol the rough watch glasses are supplied
at once from the glass house; the workman, applying a thick ring
of cold glass to each globe as soon as it is blown, causes a
piece, of the size of a watch glass, to be cracked out. The
remaining portion of the globe is immediately broken, and returns
to the melting pot. This process could not be adopted in England
with the same economy, because the whole of the glass taken out
of the pot is subject to the excise duty.

421. The objections thus stated as incidental to particular
modes of taxation are not raised with a view to the removal of
those particular taxes; their fitness or unfitness must be
decided by a much wider enquiry, into which it is not the object
of this volume to enter. Taxes are essential for the security
both of liberty and property, and the evils which have been
mentioned may be the least amongst those which might have been
chosen. It is, however, important that the various effects of
every tax should be studied, and that those should be adopted
which, upon the whole, are found to give the least check to the
productive industry of the country.

422. In enquiring into the effect produced, or to be
apprehended from any particular mode of taxation, it is necessary
to examine a little into the interests of the parties who approve
of the plan in question, as well as of those who object to it.
Instances have occurred where the persons paying a tax into the
hands of government have themselves been adverse to any
reduction. This happened in the case of one class of
calico-printers, whose interest really was injured by a removal
of the tax on the printing: they received from the manufacturers,
payment for the duty, about two months before they were
themselves called on to pay it to government; and the consequence
was, that a considerable capital always remained in their hands.
The evidence which states this circumstance is well calculated to
promote a reasonable circumspection in such enquiries.

Question. Do you happen to know anything of an opposition
from calicoprinters to the repeal of the tax on printed calicoes?

Answer. I have certainly heard of such an opposition, and am
not surprised at it. There are very few individuals who are, in
fact, interested in the nonrepeal of the tax; there are two
classes of calico-printers; one, who print their own cloth, send
their goods into the market, and sell them on their own account;
they frequently advance the duty to government, and pay it in
cash before their goods are sold, but generally before the goods
are paid for, being most commonly sold on a credit of six months:
they are of course interested on that account, as well as on
others that have been stated, in the repeal of the tax. The other
class of calico-printers print the cloth of other people; they
print for hire, and on re-delivery of the cloth when printed,
they receive the amount of the duty, which they are not called
upon to pay to government sooner, on an average, than nine weeks
from the stamping of the goods. Where the business is carried on
upon a large scale, the arrears of duty due to government often
amount to eight, or even ten thousand pounds, and furnish a
capital with which these gentlemen carry on their business; it is
not, therefore, to be wondered at that they should be opposed to
the prayer of our petition.

423. The policy of giving bounties upon home productions, and
of enforcing restrictions against those which can be produced
more cheaply in other countries, is of a very questionable
nature: and, except for the purpose of introducing a new
manufacture, in a country where there is not much commercial or
manufacturing spirit, is scarcely to be defended. All incidental
modes of taxing one class of the community, the consumers, to an
unknown extent, for the sake of supporting another class, the
manufacturers, who would otherwise abandon that mode of employing
their capital, are highly objectionable. One part of the price of
any article produced under such circumstances, consists of the
expenditure, together with the ordinary profits of capital: the
other part of its price may be looked upon as charity, given to
induce the manufacturer to continue an unprofitable use of his
capital, in order to give employment to his workmen. If the sum
of what the consumers are thus forced to pay, merely on account
of these artificial restrictions, where generally known, its
amount would astonish even those who advocate them; and it would
be evident to both parties, that the employment of capital in
those branches of trade ought to be abandoned.

424. The restriction of articles produced in a manufactory to
certain sizes, is attended with some good effect in an economical
view, arising chiefly from the smaller number of different tools
required in making them, as well as from less frequent change in
the adjustment of those tools. A similar source of economy is
employed in the Navy: by having ships divided into a certain
number of classes, each of which comprises vessels of the same
dimensions, the rigging made for one vessel will fit any other of
its class; a circumstance which renders the supply of distant
stations more easy.

425. The effects of the removal of a monopoly are often very
important, and they were perhaps never more remarkable than in
the bobbin net trade, in the years 1824 and 1825. These effects
were, however, considerably enhanced by the general rage for
speculation which was so prevalent during that singular period.
One of the patents of Mr Heathcote for a bobbin net machine had
just then expired, whilst another, for an improvement in a
particular part of such machines, called a turn again, had yet a
few years to run. Many licenses had been granted to use the
former patent, which were charged at the rate of about five
pounds per annum for each quarter of a yard in width, so that
what is termed a six-quarter frame (which makes bobbin net a yard
and a half wide) paid thirty pounds a year. The second patent was
ultimately abandoned in August, 1823, infringements of it having
taken place.

It was not surprising that, on the removal of the monopoly
arising from this patent, a multitude of persons became desirous
of embarking in a trade which had hitherto yielded a very large
profit. The bobbin net machine occupies little space; and is,
from that circumstance, well adapted for a domestic manufacture.
The machines which already existed, were principally in the hands
of the manufacturers; but, a kind of mania for obtaining them
seized on persons of all descriptions, who could raise a small
capital; and, under its influence, butchers, bakers, small
farmers, publicans, gentlemen's servants, and, in some cases,
even clergymen, became anxious to possess bobbin net machines.

Some few machines were rented; but, in most of these cases,
the workman purchased the machine he employed, by instalments of
from L3 to L6 weekly, for a six quarter machine; and many
individuals, unacquainted with the mode of using the machines so
purchased, paid others of more experience for instructing them in
their use; L50 or L60 being sometimes given for this instruction.
The success of the first speculators induced others to follow the
example; and the machine-makers were almost overwhelmed with
orders for lace frames. Such was the desire to procure them, that
many persons deposited a large part, or the whole, of the price,
in the hands of the frame-makers, in order to insure their having
the earliest supply. This, as might naturally be expected, raised
the price of wages amongst the workmen employed in
machine-making; and the effect was felt at a considerable
distance from Nottingham, which was the centre of this mania.
Smiths not used to flat filing, coming from distant parts, earned
from 30s. to 42s. per week. Finishing smiths, accustomed to the
work, gained from L3 to L4 per week..The forging smith, if
accustomed to his work, gained from L5 to L6 per week, and some
few earned L10 per week. In making what are technically called
insides, those who were best paid, were generally clock- and
watchmakers, from all the districts round, who received from L3
to L4 per week. The setters-up--persons who put the parts of the
machine together--charged L20 for their assistance; and, a six
quarter machine, could be put together in a fortnight or three

426. Good workmen, being thus induced to desert less
profitable branches of their business, in order to supply this
extraordinary demand, the masters, in other trades, soon found
their men leaving them, without being aware of the immediate
reason: some of the more intelligent, however, ascertained the
cause. They went from Birmingham to Nottingham, in order to
examine into the circumstances which had seduced almost all the
journeymen clockmakers from their own workshops; and it was soon
apparent, that the men who had been working as clockmakers in
Birmingham, at the rate of 25s. a week, could earn L2 by working
at lace frame-making in Nottingham.

On examining the nature of this profitable work, the master
clockmakers perceived that one part of the bobbin net machines,
that which held the bobbins, could easily be made in their own
workshops. They therefore contracted with the machine-makers, who
had already more work ordered than they could execute, to supply
the bobbin carriers, at a price which enabled them, on their
return home, to give such increased wages as were sufficient to
retain their own workmen, as well as yield themselves a good
profit. Thus an additional facility was afforded for the
construction of these bobbin net machines: and the conclusion was
not difficult to be foreseen. The immense supply of bobbin net
thus poured into the market, speedily reduced its price; this
reduction in price, rendered the machines by which the net was
made, less valuable; some few of the earliest producers, for a
short time, carried on a profitable trade; but multitudes were
disappointed, and many ruined. The low price at which the fabric
sold, together with its lightness and beauty, combined to extend
the sale; and ultimately, new improvements in the machines,
rendered the older ones still less valuable.

427. The bobbin net trade is, at present, both extensive and
increasing; and, as it may, probably, claim a larger portion of
public attention at some future time, it will be interesting to
describe briefly its actual state.

A lace frame on the most improved principle, at the present
day, manufacturing a piece of net two yards wide, when worked
night and day, will produce six hundred and twenty racks per
week. A rack is two hundred and forty holes; and as in the
machine to which we refer, three racks are equal in length to one
yard, it will produce 21,493 square yards of bobbin net annually.
Three men keep this machine constantly working; and, they were
paid (by piece-work) about 25s. each per week, in 1830. Two boys,
working only in the day-time, can prepare the bobbins for this
machine, and are paid from 2s. to 4s. per week, according to
their skill. Forty-six square yards of this net weigh two pounds
three ounces; so that each square yard weighs a little more than
three-quarters of an ounce.

428. For a condensed and general view of the present state of
this trade, we shall avail ourselves of a statement by Mr William
Felkin, of Nottingham, dated September, 1831, and entitled Facts
and Calculations illustrative of the Present State of the Bobbin
Net Trade. It appears to have been collected with care, and
contains, in a single sheet of paper, a body of facts of the
greatest importance. *

429. The total capital employed in the factories, for
preparing the cotton, in those for weaving the bobbin net, and in
various processes to which it is subject, is estimated at above
L2,000,000, and the number of persons who receive wages, at above
two hundred thousand.

Comparison of the value of the raw material imported, with the
value of the goods manufactured therefrom

Amount of Sea Island cotton annually used 1,600,000 lbs., value
L120,000; this is manufactured into yarn, weighing 1,000,000
lbs., value L500,000.

There is also used 25,000 lbs. of raw silk, which costs
L30,000, and is doubled into 10,000 lbs. thrown, worth L40,000.

Raw Material; Manufacture; Square yards produced; Value per sq.
yd.(s. d.); Total value (L)

Cotton 1,600,000; lbs; Power Net; 6,750,000; 1 3; 421,875
Hand ditto; 15,750,000; 1 9; 1,378,125
Fancy ditto; 150,000; 3 6; 26,250
Silk, 25,000 lbs; Silk Goods; 750,000; 1 9; 65,625

23,400,000; 1,891,875

* I cannot omit the opportunity of expressing my hope that this
example will be followed in other trades. We should thus obtain a
body ofinformation equally important to the workman, the
capitalist, the philosopher, and the statesman.

The brown nets which are sold in the Nottingham market are
in part disposed of by the agents of twelve or fifteen of the
larger makers, i.e. to the amount of about L250,000 a year. The
principal part of the remainder, i.e. about L1,050,000 a year, is
sold by about two hundred agents, who take the goods from one
warehouse to another for sale.

Of this production, about half is exported in the
unembroidered state. The exports of bobbin net are in great part
to Hamburgh, for sale at home and at Leipzic and Frankfort fairs.
Antwerp, and the rest of Belgium; to France, by contraband; to
Italy, and North and South America. Though a very suitable
article, yet the quantity sent eastward of the Cape of Good Hope,
has hitherto been too trifling for notice. Three-eighths of the
whole production are sold unembroidered at home. The remaining
one-eighth is embroidered in this country, and increases the
ultimate value as under, viz.

Embroidery Increases value Ultimate worth
On power net 131,840 553,715
On hand net 1,205,860 2,583.985
On fancy net 78,750 105,000
On silk net 109,375 175,000

Total embroidery, wages and profits 1,525,825
Ultimate total value 3,417,700

From this it appears, that in the operations of this trade,
which had no existence twenty years ago, L120,000 original cost
of cotton becomes, when manufactured, of the ultimate value of
L3,242,700 sterling.

As to weekly wages paid, I hazard the following as the
judgement of those conversant with the respective branches, viz.

In fine spinning and doubling, adults 25s.; children 7s.:
work twelve hours per day.

In bobbin net making; men working machines, 18s.;
apprentices, youths of fifteen or more, 10s.; by power, fifteen
hours; by hand, eight to twelve hours, according to width.

In mending; children 4s.; women 8s.; work nine to fourteen
hours ad libitum.

In winding, threading, etc., children and young women, 5s.:
irregular work, according to the progress of machines.

In embroidery; children seven years old and upwards, 1s. to
3s.; work ten to twelve hours; women, if regularly at work, 5s.
to 7s. 6d.; twelve to fourteen hours.

As an example of the effect of the wages of lace embroidery,
etc., it may be observed, it is often the case that a stocking
weaver in a country village will earn only 7s. a week, and his
wife and children 7s. to 14s. more at the embroidery frame.

430. The principal part of the hand-machines employed in the
bobbin net manufacture are worked in shops, forming part of, or
attached to, private houses. The subjoined list will show the
kinds of machinery employed, and classes of persons to whom it

Bobbin net machinery now at work in the Kingdom

Hand levers 6 quarter 500 Hand circulars 6 quarter 100
7 quarter 200 7 quarter 300
8 quarter 300 8 quarter 400
10 quarter 300 9 quarter 100
12 quarter 30 10 quarter 300
16 quarter 20 12 quarter 100
20 quarter 1 Hand transverse, pusher,
Hand rotary 10 quarter 50 straight bolt, etc. averaging 5
quarters 750
12 quarter 50
2050 1451

Total hand machines 3501

Power 6 quarter 100
7 quarter 40
8 quarter 350
10 quarter 270
12 quarter 220
16 quarter 20
Total power machines 1000

Total number of machines 4501

700 persons own 1 machine, 700 machines.
226 2 452
181 3 543
96 4 384
40 5 200
21 6 126
17 7 119
19 8 152
17 9 153
12 10 120
8 11 88
6 12 72
5 13 65
5 14 70
4 16 64
25 own respectively 18,
19, 20, 21,
23, 24, 25,
26, 27, 28,
29, 30, 32,
33, 35, 36,
37, 50, 60,
68, 70, 75,
95, 105, 206

Number of owners of machines--1382 Holding together 4500

The hand workmen consist of the above-named owners 1000
And of journeymen and apprentices 4000

These machines are distributed as follows
Nottingham 1240
New Radford 140
Old Radford and Bloomsgrove 240
Ison Green 160
Beeston and Chilwell 130
New and Old Snenton 180
Derby and its vicinity 185
Loughborough and its vicinity 385
Leicester 95
Mansfield 85
Tiverton 220
Barnstable l80
Chard 190
Isle of Wight 80
In sundry other places 990


Of the above owners, one thousand work in their own machines,
and enter into the class of journeymen as well as that of masters
in operating on the rate of wages. If they reduce the price of
their goods in the market, they reduce their own wages first;
and, of course, eventually the rate of wages throughout the
trade. It is a very lamentable fact, that one-half, or more, of
the one thousand one hundred persons specified in the list as
owning one, two, and three machines, have been compelled to
mortgage their machines for more than their worth in the market,
and are in many cases totally insolvent. Their machines are
principally narrow and making short pieces, while the absurd
system of bleaching at so much a piece goods of all lengths and
widths, and dressing at so much all widths, has caused the new
machines to be all wide, and capable of producing long pieces; of
course to the serious disadvantage, if not utter ruin, of the
small owner of narrow machines.

It has been observed above, that wages have been reduced, say
25 per cent in the last two years, or from 24s. to 18s. a week.
Machines have increased in the same time one-eighth in number, or
from four thousand to four thousand five hundred, and one-sixth
in capacity of production. It is deserving the serious notice of
all proprietors of existing machines, that machines are now
introducing into the trade of such power of production as must
still more than ever depreciate (in the absence of an immensely
increased demand) the value of their property.

431. From this abstract, we may form some judgement of the
importance of the bobbin net trade. But the extent to which it
bids fair to be carried in future, when the eastern markets shall
be more open to our industry, may be conjectured from the fact
which Mr Felkin subsequently states that 'We can export a durable
and elegant article in cotton bobbin net, at 4d. per square yard,
proper for certain useful and ornamental purposes, as curtains,
etc.; and another article used for many purposes in female dress
at 6d. the square yard.'

432. Of patents. In order to encourage the invention, the
improvement, or the importation of machines, and of discoveries
relating to manufactures, it has been the practice in many
countries, to grant to the inventors or first introducers, an
exclusive privilege for a term of years. Such monopolies are
termed patents; and they are granted, on the payment of certain
fees, for different periods, from five to twenty years.

The following table, compiled from the Report of the
Committee of the House of Commons on Patents, 1829, shows the
expense and duration of patents in various countries:

Countries; Expense (L s. d.); Term of years; Number granted in
six years, ending in 1826.(Rep. p. 243.)

England; 120 0 0; 14; 914
Ireland; 125 0 0; 14;
Scotland; 100 0 0; 14;
America; 6 15 0; 14;
France; 12 0 0; 5;
32 0 0; 10;
60 0 0; 15; 1091
Netherlands; L6 to L30; 5, 10. 15
Austria; 42 10 0; 15; 1099
Spain(3*) Inventor; 20 9 4; 15;
Improver; 12 5 7; 10;
Importer; 10 4 8; 6;

433. It is clearly of importance to preserve to each inventor
the sole use of his invention, until he shall have been amply
repaid for the risk and expense to which he has been exposed, as
well as for the talent he has exerted in completing it. But, the
degrees of merit are so various, and the difficulties of
legislating upon the subject so great, that it has been found
almost impossible to frame a law which shall not, practically, be
open to the most serious objections.

The difficulty of defending an English patent in any judicial
trial, is very great; and the number of instances on record in
which the defence has succeeded, are comparatively few. This
circumstance has induced some manufacturers, no longer to regard
a patent as a privilege by which a monopoly price may be secured:
but they sell the patent article at such a price, as will merely
produce the ordinary profits of capital; and thus secure to
themselves the fabrication of it, because no competitors can
derive a profit from invading a patent so exercised.

434. The law of copyright, is, in some measure, allied to
that of patents; and it is curious to observe, that those species
of property which require the highest talent, and the greatest
cultivation--which are, more than any other, the pure creations
of mind--should have been the latest to be recognized by the
State. Fortunately, the means of deciding on an infringement of
property in regard to a literary production, are not verv
difficult; but the present laws are, in some cases, productive of
considerable hardship, as well as of impediment to the
advancement of knowledge.

435. Whilst discussing the general expediency of limitations
and restrictions, it may be desirable to point out one which
seems to promise advantage, though by no means free from grave
objections. The question of permitting by law, the existence of
partnerships in which the responsibility of one or more of the
partners is limited in amount, is peculiarly important in a
manufacturing, as well as a commercial point of view. In the
former light, it appears calculated to aid that division of
labour, which we have already proved to be as advantageous in
mental as it is in bodily operations; and it might possibly give
rise to a more advantageous distribution of talent, and its
combinations, than at present exists. There are in this country,
many persons possessed of moderate capital, who do not
themselves enjoy the power of invention in the mechanical and
chemical arts, but who are tolerable judges of such inventions,
and excellent judges of human character. Such persons might, with
great success, employ themselves in finding out inventive
workmen, whose want of capital prevents them from realizing their
projects. If they could enter into a limited partnership with
persons so circumstanced, they might restrain within proper
bounds the imagination of the inventor, and by supplying capital
to judicious schemes, render a service to the country, and secure
a profit for themselves.

436. Amongst the restrictions intended for the general
benefit of our manufacturers, there existed a few years ago one
by which workmen were forbidden to go out of the country. A law
so completely at variance with everv principle of liberty, ought
never to have been enacted. It was not, however, until experience
had convinced the legislature of its inefficiency, that it was
repealed. * When, after the last war, the renewed intercourse
between England and the Continent became extensive, it was soon
found that it was impossible to discover the various disguises
which the workmen could assume; and the effect of the law was
rather, by the fear of punishment, to deter those who had left
the country from returning, than to check their disposition to

436. (4*) The principle, that government Ought to interfere
as little as possible between workmen and their employers, is so
well established, that it is important to guard against its
misapplication. It is not inconsistent with this principle to
insist on the workmen being paid in money--for this is merely to
protect them from being deceived; and still less is it a
deviation from it to limit the number of hours during which
children shall work in factories, or the age at which they shall
commence that species of labour--for they are not free agents,
nor are they capable of judging, if they were; and both policy
and humanity concur in demanding for them some legislative
protection. In both cases it is as right and politic to protect
the weaker party from fraud or force, as it would be impolitic
and unjust to interfere with the amount of the wages of either.


1. Twenty eight shillings per cwt for the finer, twenty one
shillings per cwt for the coarser papers.

2. I cannot omit the opportunity of expressing my hope that this
example will be followed in other trades. We should thus obtain a
body of information equally important to the workman, the
capitalist, the philosopher, and the stateman.

3. The expense of a patent in Spain is stated in the report to be
respecitivly 2000, 1200 and 1000 reals. If these are reals of
vellon, in which accounts are usually kept at Madrid, the above
sums are correct; but if they are reals of plate, the above sums
ought to be nearly doubled.

4. In the year 1824 the law against workmen going abroad, as well
as the laws preventing them from combining, were repealed, after
the fullest enquiry by a Committee of the House of Commons. In
1825 an attempt to re-enact some of the most objectionable was
made, but it failed.

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