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

Of Copying With Altered Dimensions
147. Of the pentagraph. This mode of copying is chiefly used ...

Increase And Diminution Of Velocity
32. The fatigue produced on the muscles of the human frame d...

On The Position Of Large Factories
277. It is found in every country, that the situation of lar...

Of Raw Materials
210. Although the cost of any article may be reduced in its ...

On The Duration Of Machinery
340. The time during which a machine will continue to perform...

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

On Combinations Amongst Masters Or Workmen Against Each Other
353. There exist amongst the workmen of almost all classes, ...

Exerting Forces Too Great For Human Power And Executing Operations Too Delicate For Human Touch
56. It requires some skill and a considerable apparatus to e...

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

On The Cost Of Each Separate Process In A Manufacture
253. The great competition introduced by machinery, and the ...

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

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

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

Of Price As Measured By Money
201. The money price at which an article sells furnishes us ...

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

Of Copying By Stamping
128. This mode of copying is extensively employed in the art...

Of Copying
82. The two last-mentioned sources of excellence in the work ...

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

Of Money As A Medium Of Exchange
166. In the earlier stages of societies the interchange of t...

On The Position Of Large Factories

Category: On the domestic and political economy of manufactures

277. It is found in every country, that the situation of
large manufacturing establishments is confined to particular
districts. In the earlier history of a manufacturing community,
before cheap modes of transport have been extensively introduced,
it will almost always be found that manufactories are placed near
those spots in which nature has produced the raw material:
especially in the case of articles of great weight, and in those
the value of which depends more upon the material than upon the
labour expended on it. Most of the metallic ores being
exceedingly heavy, and being mixed up with large quantities of
weighty and useless materials, must be smelted at no great
distance from the spot which affords them: fuel and power are the
requisites for reducing them; and any considerable fall of water
in the vicinity will naturally be resorted to for aid in the
coarser exertions of physical force; for pounding the ore, for
blowing the furnaces, or for hammering and rolling out the iron.
There are indeed peculiar circumstances which will modify this.
Iron, coal, and limestone, commonly occur in the same tracts; but
the union of the fuel in the same locality with the ore does not
exist with respect to other metals. The tracts generally the most
productive of metallic ores are, geologically speaking, different
from those affording coal: thus in Cornwall there are veins of
copper and of tin, but no beds of coal. The copper ore, which
requires a very large quantity of fuel for its reduction, is sent
by sea to the coalfields of Wales, and is smelted at Swansea;
whilst the vessels which convey it, take back coals to work the
steam-engines for draining the mines, and to smelt the tin, which
requires for that purpose a much smaller quantity of fuel than

278. Rivers passing through districts rich in coal and
metals, will form the first highroads for the conveyance of
weighty produce to stations in which other conveniences present
themselves for the further application of human skill. Canals
will succeed, or lend their aid to these; and the yet unexhausted
applications of steam and of gas, hold out a hope of attaining
almost the same advantages for countries to which nature seemed
for ever to have denied them. Manufactures, commerce, and
civilization, always follow the line of new and cheap
communications. Twenty years ago, the Mississippi poured the vast
volume of its waters in lavish profusion through thousands of
miles of countries, which scarcely supported a few wandering and
uncivilized tribes of Indians. The power of the stream seemed to
set at defiance the efforts of man to ascend its course; and, as
if to render the task still more hopeless, large trees, torn from
the surrounding forests, were planted like stakes in its bottom,
forming in some places barriers, in others the nucleus of banks;
and accumulating in the same spot, which but for accident would
have been free from both, the difficulties and dangers of shoals
and of rocks. Four months of incessant toil could scarcely convey
a small bark with its worn-out crew two thousand miles up this
stream. The same voyage is now performed in fifteen days by large
vessels impelled by steam, carrying hundreds of passengers
enjoying all the comforts and luxuries of civilized life. Instead
of the hut of the Indian, and the far more unfrequent log house
of the thinly scattered settlers--villages, towns, and cities,
have arisen on its banks; and the same engine which stems the
force of these powerful waters, will probably tear from their
bottom the obstructions which have hitherto impeded and rendered
dangerous their navigation.(1*)

279. The accumulation of many large manufacturing
establishments in the same district has a tendency to bring
together purchasers or their agents from great distances, and
thus to cause the institution of a public mart or exchange. This
contributes to diffuse information relative to the supply of raw
materials, and the state of demand for their produce, with which
it is necessary manufacturers should be well acquainted. The very
circumstance of collecting periodically, at one place, a large
number both of those who supply the market and of those who
require its produce, tends strongly to check the accidental
fluctuations to which a small market is always subject, as well
as to render the average of the prices much more uniform.

280. When capital has been invested in machinery, and in
buildings for its accommodation, and when the inhabitants of the
neighbourhood have acquired a knowledge of the modes of working
at the machines, reasons of considerable weight are required to
cause their removal. Such changes of position do however occur;
and they have been alluded to by the Committee on the Fluctuation
of Manufacturers' Employment, as one of the causes interfering
most materially with an uniform rate of wages: it is therefore of
particular importance to the workmen to be acquainted with the
real causes which have driven manufactures from their ancient

The migration or change of place of any manufacture has
sometimes arisen from improvements of machinery not applicable to
the spot where such manufacture was carried on, as appears to
have been the case with the woollen manufacture, which has in
great measure migrated from Essex, Suffolk, and other southern
counties, to the northern districts, where coal for the use of
the steam-engine is much cheaper. But this change has, in some
instances, been caused or accelerated by the conduct of the
workmen, in refusing a reasonable reduction of wages, or opposing
the introduction of some kind of improved machinery or process;
so that, during the dispute, another spot has in great measure
supplied their place in the market. Any violence used by the
workmen against the property of their masters, and any
unreasonable combination on their part, is almost sure thus to be
injurious to themselves.

281. These removals become of serious consequence when the
factories have been long established, because a population
commensurate with their wants invariably grows up around them.
The combinations in Nottinghamshire, of persons under the name of
Luddites, drove a great number of lace frames from that district,
and caused establishments to be formed in Devonshire. We ought
also to observe, that the effect of driving any establishment
into a new district, where similar works have not previously
existed, is not merely to place it out of the reach of such
combinations; but, after a few years, the example of its success
will most probably induce other capitalists in the new district
to engage in the same manufacture: and thus, although one
establishment only should be driven away, the workmen, through
whose combination its removal is effected, will not merely suffer
by the loss of that portion of demand for their labour which the
factory caused; but the value of that labour will itself be
reduced by the competition of a new field of production.

282. Another circumstance which has its influence on this
question, is the nature of the machinery. Heavy machinery, such
as stamping-mills, steam-engines, etc., cannot readily be moved,
and must always be taken to pieces for that purpose; but when the
machinery of a factory consists of a multitude of separate
engines, each complete in itself, and all put in motion by one
source of power, such as that of steam, then the removal is much
less inconvenient. Thus, stocking frames, lace machines, and
looms, can be transported to more favourable positions, with but
a small separation of their parts.

283. It is of great importance that the more intelligent
amongst the class of workmen should examine into the correctness
of these views; because, without having their attention directed
to them, the whole class may, in some instances, be led by
designing persons to pursue a course, which, although plausible
in appearance, is in reality at variance with their own best
interests. I confess I am not without a hope that this volume may
fall into the hands of workmen, perhaps better qualified than
myself to reason upon a subject which requires only plain common
sense, and whose powers are sharpened by its importance to their
personal happiness. In asking their attention to the preceding
remarks, and to those which I shall offer respecting
combinations, I can claim only one advantage over them; namely,
that I never have had, and in all human probability never shall
have, the slightest pecuniary interest, to influence even
remotely, or by anticipation, the judgements I have formed on the
facts which have come before me.


1. The amount of obstructions arising from the casual fixing of
trees in the bottom of the river, may be estimated from the
proportion of steamboats destroyed by running upon them. The
subjoined statement is taken from the American Almanack for 1832.

Between the years 1811 and 1831, three hundred and
forty-eight steamboats were built on the Mississippi and its
tributary streams. During that period a hundred and fifty were
lost or worn out.

Of this hundred and fifty: worn out 63
lost by snags 36
burnt 14
lost by collision 3
by accidents not ascertained 34
Thirty six or nearly one fourth, being destroyed by accidental

Snag is the name given in America to trees which stand nearly
upright in the stream with their roots fixed at the bottom.

It is usual to divide off at the bow of the steamboats a
watertight chamber, in order that when a hole is made in it by
running against the snags, the water may not enterthe rest of the
vessel and sink it intantly.

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