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commodity, and sold at the next market to merchants or agents. Some of these small men worked to the order of merchants and never went near the market; some of them received the raw material from the middleman for whom they worked. Higher in the scale came the middle-sized employer, who supplemented the labour of himself and family by taking apprentices and employing journeymen and women. Some of the employees might work under the master's roof; others owned or were lent the necessary tools, etc., and took the raw material away to work up in their own houses. Higher still came the large employers, who were to be found in the textile industries and also in mining, ship-building, and other occupations which could not be carried on without large sums of capital.
These big men might have all their employees working together under direct supervision-e.g., ship-building. Or they might have some at work in the employer's shop and others taking the material away to work up at home-e.g., a Yorkshire clothier, who had 11 looms in his own loomshop and 10 in the houses of his weavers. Or they might have no central workshop of their own, and let all the work be done in the workers' homes. In this last case the employer was a commercial middleman rather than a manufacturer. He bought raw material, and took it to his warehouse; here he gave it out to journeymen or small employers of the class described above; sometimes he provided the equipment as well. The workers then took the material home, and later returned with it in a semi-manufactured or manufactured state, received payment according to a piece-rate, and took away more material. This practice was common in parts of the cloth, boots, hats, and small ironware industries. It still survives in some places for making chains, nails, and clothing apparel. In the 18th century the. absence of any supervision over the scattered workers led to frequent complaints about embezzlement of raw material and bad workmanship; in the 20th century the competition between the home-worker and the factory producer exposes the former to the worst features of sweating.
From this brief analysis of the industrial structure it will be evident that in some important industries it was possible for a man to start life as a journeyman and then, by dint of hard work, ability, and thrift, save enough to enable him to set up in a small way on his own account. Once that step had been taken, passage to the higher ranks of employerdom might not be difficult. The cost of equipment was not great in the textile and metal-work trades, and many wage-earners actually did gain some measure of independence. Independence did not necessarily mean wealth, but often the reverse. Competition might be keen, the merchant's grip might be rough and tight, periods of acute depression were frequent. Therefore the man who escaped from wage-earning might be little better off in his new position. He had to look forward to a life of strenuous toil, with small reward. Affluence came eventually to some, but for the great bulk of the small men life meant hard drudging work for small returns.
Apprentices and Journeymen. Apprenticeship had been a legal part of the industrial system for 1,000 years at least. Since industry depended upon manual skill, and since one man might do many processes, it was essential that the worker should be thoroughly trained in all that related to his occupation. This end was achieved by demanding a seven years' apprenticeship, and although the full period demanded by the law was not always enforced, most workers could claim to have undergone some pre
liminary technical education. Generally the apprentice lived with his master, and fared happily or otherwise according to the temper of his tutor. He was protected by law against undue cruelty, but was liable to severe punishment for neglect of duty or misbehaviour. In return for his services he was taught all that related to the occupation he had chosen. At the end of his term two
were open to him. He might, if he possessed the necessary capital, set up on his own account. Should he be unable to do so, he could seek employment as a wage-earner, and try to save sufficient to enable him to become a small independent or semi-independent master craftsman.
From mediæval times downwards wages of journeymen had been subject to regulation, first by the towns and guilds, and later by the state. A famous act of 1563 ordered the justices of the peace in each county to assess wages every Easter for all occupations carried on in the county. These assessments were to be such as would “yield to the hired person, both in the time of plenty and in the time of scarcity, a convenient proportion of wages.
In practice, the rate fixed was usually a maximum, and any person paying or accepting more than the assessed wage was liable to a heavy fine. The result had probably been that wages were kept down in a period of rising prices. By the beginning of the 18th century this plan of regulation had broken down, and although some attempts were made to revive it, its influence upon the wages rate in that century was small. Wage-earners, however, were now beginning to look to themselves, especially in those occupations in which it was difficult for the employee to reach independence. Hence appeared the first trade unions, which after 1720 became numerous and adopted methods similar to those practised in the 19th century. The state did its best to suppress all labour organizations, but unionism smouldered all through the century, and burst into flames with the coming of the factory and the factory system. (See Chapter XIV.)
Growth of Capital. The 17th and 18th centuries witnessed a growing realization by Western Europe of the many profitable uses to which capital could be put. The opening up of the New World and the discovery of sea routes to the Far East shifted the centre of commercial gravity from Central to Western Europe. Commercial power went first to Portugal and Spain, then to Holland. From Holland it passed into the hands of the two great rival powers, England and France. The factors which enabled the England of 1588—fighting for its very existence—to become the England of 1763—defeating France in three continents—were partly political, but far more economic. They included the extension of old industries, such as woollens, and the establishment of new ones, such as silks and cottons; the rise of a big native merchant class, which fetched and carried in most parts of the earth; the acquisition of colonies and establishment of trading centres; the construction of a mercantile marine. And since all these developments needed money they were accompanied by the growth of credit facilities and the devising of plans for the accumulation and use of large sums of capital.
Capital, therefore, began to play a more important part in nearly every walk of life. In small-scale production its sphere was limited, though the large merchant-middleman, who bought and distributed raw materials and then coliected and sold the finished article, had to lay out big sums of money. Some branches of activity required more than one man might possess, and so the pooling of resources into a joint stock became a common practice.
Almost the first joint stock enterprises were concerned with financing the privateering, slave-trading, bullion-snatching ventures of the Elizabethan sea-dogs. Gentry, landowners, merchants, and sometimes the Queen, invested money, and usually, when the spoils were shared out, received their capital back, plus a profit which ranged from 30 to 100 per cent. in most ventures, but in Drake's expedition round the world reached the colossal figure of 4,600 per cent. From this the joint stock plan passed on, and was applied to the planting of colonies and the prosecution of trade with far-distant countries — e.g., the East India Company. For a time capital was contributed for ons year or one trip only, but eventually it was regarded as a permanent investment, and the owner could get his money back only by selling his share. Soon people realized that joint stock could be adopted for all sorts of ventures, and so the 17th century saw companies floated for land drainage, fisheries, mining, smelting, water supplies, postal service, street lighting, the manufacture of paper, linen, glass and metal goods, insurance, banking, etc. By 1717 the total share capital of British companies was £20,000,000. This money had been to some extent subscribed by persons who had no practical knowledge or experience of the trade in which their money was employed. The buying and selling of shares developed steadily, and by 1700 there were open and well-organized markets in London, Amsterdam, Frankfort, and Hamburg for such transactions. Men began to deal speculatively in scrip; others exploited the growing popularity of the joint stock idea, and so the years preceding the South Sea Bubble (1720) saw an orgy of speculation and company promoting. The bursting of the bubble brought public wrath on the head of the new form of company; the state forbade any but chartered companies to operate, and since charters were difficult and costly to obtain joint stock organization passed into the background for over a century.
Banking. Of the many joint stock companies formed in the 17th century, by far the most important was the Bank of England. Banking came slowly to Western Europe. Venice had its bank in the 12th century, and Florence and Genoa became important banking centres in the next three centuries. The commercial growth of Holland called for the formation of the Bank of Amsterdam in 1609. In England facilities for the safe keeping of bullion and valuables were offered by the goldsmiths even in Tudor times, and the strongrooms of Lombard Street were full of treasure deposited there by nervous citizens during the stormy times of the Stuart kings. From this practice two others evolved. Depositors were given a receipt stating the value of the wealth handed over to the goldsmith, and began to hand these receipts over to other persons in payment of debts. Thus the banknote originated. At the same time the goldsmiths, noticing that large sums of money always lay idle on their hands, began to lend some of this hoard to the Crown or to private borrowers. The loan might be made in metal, but more often it was given in the form of paper, which entitled the bearer to obtain gold on presenting it at the goldsmith's shop. Thus the goldsmith turned into the banker. He took deposits and paid interest thereon; he issued notes in excess of the deposits in his vaults; he discounted bills of exchange.
These developments culminated in the foundation of the Bank of England. In 1694 a group of financiers lent £1,200,000 to William III. In returi: they got interest at 8 per cent. and a charter permitting them to open a bank, receiving deposits and lending money, either in metal or in notes. At first it was supposed that all the lending would be to the Crown, but this was not the case. A big private business was built up, and the bank's notes came to be regarded as being "as good as gold.” The whole standing of banking was raised, and the rate of interest on loans fell from 8 per cent. to 4 per cent. within twenty years. A few other smaller banks were soon established, and London obtained the financial facilities which helped it to displace Amsterdam as the money centre of Europe.
The Difficulties of Travel. The expansion of production and trade iii the 18th century was impeded by natural and artificial obstacles. Sea transit was steadily improving; but land traffic was difficult. Roads were few and bad; finger-posts were rare, and in some parts wise travellers set out accompanied by guides. Overhanging trees on each side of the road threatened the horseman with the fate of Absalom, while the ruts and pools of muildy water rendered the surface very uneven. Repairs were dons under compulsion by the inhabitants of each district, and this forced "statute labour” was badly done, when it was not evaded. Arthur Young, who had travelled over most of Western Europe, frequently abandoned polite language in his indictment of some English highways. One road is “infamous; I was near being swallowed up by a slough.' Another is, "sufficient to dislocate one's bones.” A third is so bad that Young cautions all travellers “to avoid it as they would the devil, for a thousand to one but they break their necks or their limbs by overthrows or breakings down
in these 18 miles of execrable memory.” Bridges were few, and most streams had to be forded. Dick Turpins infested the main roads, and reaped a rich harvest from the lonely traveller. But if road conimunication was difficult, river transit was little better. Many of the rivers were still in their natural state, with their course broken by rocks, shallows, rapids, fallen timber, etc. On top of all these obstacles came others imposed by individuals or the state. International trade was subject to an elaborate maze of customs duties, prohibitions, etc., and often internal traders hal to pay tolls and other dues in order to take their goods from one part of a country to another or get them admitted into a town. Commerce needed more roads and better roads, navigable rivers and canals; it needed fewer restrictions on freedom of movement and the abolition of many duties. Between 1760 and 1830 it got most of these needs satisfied.
Books Recommended. This chapter is a very slight sketch of pre-factory economie life and organization. Those who wish to supplement it should read some of the following works: Ashley, W. J., “Economic Organization of England,” chaps. 4 and 5; Toynbee, A., “Industrial Revolution,” chaps. 4, 6, 7; Hobson, J. A., “Evolution of Modern Capitalism,” chap. 4, Ogg, F. A., “Economic Development of Modern Europe,” chaps. 3-4; Unwin, G., “Industrial Organization in the 16th and 17th Centuries''; Warner, T., “Landmarks in English Industrial History''; Heaton, H., «« Yorkshire Woollen and Worsted Industries,'' chaps. 8-11.
THE COMING OF MODERN AGRICULTURE.
In agriculture, as in industry, the last 160 years have witnessed a great revolution. In methods of production and sale, in land tenure, in the quality and quantity of the product, changes have taken place in old countries, while vast new areas have been called into service to meet the wants of mankind. In all countries the change has been due to the application of science to the production of crops and the rearing of live stock, the growing use of machinery and capital, and developments in the means and possibilities of transit. In most lands this progress has been compatible with the survival of the small farmer, the peasant proprietor. But in England modern farming brought with it the large farmer and the big landlord. Land has accumulated in the hands of a few big owners, and the peasant proprietor is the exception. This peculiar development is partly due to economic causes, but far more to the fact that during the critical period political power was in the hands of the big landlords, who utilized the parliamentary machine to further their own interests. The English rural problem, which engaged the attention of social reformers for twenty years before the War, is in many respects a legacy of the days of parliamentary rule by á landed oligarchy. Parliamentary government is not an unmixed blessing, and despotisms have sometimes been more tender than parliaments to the small man on the land.
English Land Tenure in 1700. Before tracing the revolution in English agriculture and land tenure, let us consider for a moment the system which the revolution destroyed, taking our stand about 1700. At that time the land was in the hands of a great number of owners—some large, many small. Seven centuries before it had been let out to the church or the feudal military nobility-let, not given-and in return the feudal tenant had to pay 2 rent in the form of money, military service, and other dues. With the Reformation, the abbey lands were handed over to the nobility. Eventually, in the 17th century, the landlords, from their position in parliament, abolished all such dues, and thus became in effect, though not in legal theory, owners of the land. Part of each estate the landlord often farmed himself or through a bailiff; the remainder he let out to tenants. These might be leaseholders for life or for a fixed number of years; or they might be copyholders, who were virtually perpetual tenants, free from fear of eviction so long as they paid their dues. Alongside these farmers proper was a class of cottagers, who rented a cottage, and gradually, by force of custom, acquired the right to turn cattle, etc., on to the common pasturesthe village green of the estate. This right, for which there was seldom any written or legal justification, was of great value to the cottager, who was able thereby to keep a few live stock. The rent paid by these various tenants was usually in money. In some parts, however, old customs still survived, and payment was made in part by working on the landlord's farm for a fixed number of days, or by giving live stock. Thus, for instance, we find on one estate a cottage let for an annual rental of 40/-, two fat geese and two hens at Christmas. A farm is leased for ten guineas, two hens,