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carried the plague did not flourish in the new brick and stone with which London was rebuilt. The timbered houses, though beautiful, were liable to fire, and harboured vermin and dirt. The re-building was done by private enterprise, but there were communal wants which individuals could not supply and the corporations of London and other towns because of their deadness did not. Therefore, as in road building, an intermediate instrument was found in the person of Commissioners appointed by special Act of Parliament, beginning with Westminster in 1761 and London in 1766, and followed by Liverpool and Manchester in 1776 and 1786 respectively. It was these variously named Improvement Commissioners, some 300 bodies in all, and not the Mayor, Aldermen and Councils of the old corporations, who were the progenitors of nearly all the activities of the municipalities of to-day. They struggled with the new needs of the growing towns for paving and cleansing. When they began, there were no pipes or gutters. Puddles and garbage lay in the middle of the road. There were no ash pits or privies, the pig was the general scavenger. The towns were three times as unhealthy as the adjacent country. Manchester and Liverpool in 1757 had death-rates of 1 in 25·7 and 1 in 27, against 1 in 68 in Monton Moss, a rural suburb of Manchester, and 1 in 66 in Horwich, a small Lancashire town.2 Thus the towns lived on the country for their people as well as their food. The weak feature of the statutory authorities was that they worked in isolation. Sometimes the Paving Commissioners were hindered by the continuous tearing up of the streets for the new pipes of the gas and water companies, acting also under statutory power and supplying competing services. Manchester is the solitary instance of a municipality which supplied its own gas, making it at first (1807) for its own offices and later (1817) for the public. Perhaps the most absurd example of municipal abdication was the private fire brigade, which was retained by the fire insurance companies to quench fires on premises insured by them. To buildings not bearing their plate they applied the principle of laissez-brûler. In Birmingham it needed the energy of Joseph Chamberlain, when Mayor, to replace private enterprise by a municipal fire brigade in the year of Our Lord 1873.

Frequently the improvements which the Commissioners effected in the main streets were neutralised by overcrowding in the back streets and chaos outside the municipal area. In the Manchester of 1795, outside the main streets which the

1 Cf. S. and B. Webb, English Local Government, Statutory Authorities, passim.

2 Cf. L. W. Moffitt, England on the Eve of the Industrial Revolution, p. 271.

Commissioners were improving, 'unregulated private enterprise had been covering the green fields with mile upon mile of squalid "back to back" cottages, crammed close together in narrow courts and blind alleys; with underground cellars occupied indifferently by human beings, animals and stores of cinders and filth.'1 And generally in 1815 the majority of the urban population lived in mean streets springing up in irregular conglomerations for the most part outside the municipal boundary. They did not know each other. According to the census of 1851, the proportion of natives was only just over a quarter in Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow. But the cholera of 1831 and 1848 stung the cities into action. For cholera, though an epidemic from abroad, was carried by the infection of water, which was under civic control. But still the lesson of provision for future growth was unlearned. In Preston in 1844 lines of slums were growing up in the open country. The State of Large Towns Commission of 1845 reported of Merthyr Tydvil, South Wales, that' during the rapid increase of this town no attention seems to have been paid to its drainage and the streets and houses built at random as it suited the views of those who speculated in them.' 2 The result was reflected in the higher death-rate of the country between 1810 and 1840 and the failure till 1870 to effect any improvement on the rate for 1810, mainly 20 per 1000. The campaign of Edwin Chadwick and his medical friends brought the Public Health Act of 1848 (11 & 12 Vict. c. 63), the basis of all later sanitary law. But the Public Health Board of 1848-54-modelled on the Cholera Board of 1832-which was appointed to demonstrate and extend the new Sanitary Law, foundered on local resistance and Parliamentary devotion to laissez-mourir. In 1871 the first permanent central authority was established, the Local Government Board, with which the Poor Law Board was now merged. Fruitful legislation followed-the Public Health Acts of 1871-5 and the Acts of 1868-85 dealing with the housing of artisans and the working class.

Shaftesbury built on Chadwick's foundations with a special eye to London's needs. In the common lodging-houses of the 1840's he had found horrors comparable with those in the mines. To eradicate these he obtained philanthropic support for model lodging-houses; and their immunity from cholera in 1851 wrung from Parliament the Act of 1851 for the registration and inspection of lodging-houses. In the same year the vicious window tax, the enemy of light and health, was abolished (cf. p. 62 n.). But there was still a period of twenty years, 1851-71, during which 1 S. and B. Webb, op. cit. p. 401.

2 Quoted in J. L. and B. Hammond, Rise of Modern Industry, p. 232.

laissez-faire, now being hunted from factories and mines, ran riot in house building. Everything was sacrificed to cheapness, and cheapness was attained not merely by excluding all conveniences such as the laying on of water, but by restricting the ground space. After 1871 a new chapter in town life opens. The reign of the shopkeepers, builders and publicans, the first to profit by the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 as by the Reform Act of 1832, came to an end. Great industrialists like Joseph Chamberlain gave freely to their cities the genius which had brought them industrial fortunes. The sad thing was that the change came so unnecessarily late.

A large town, it is true, could not be made healthy by a stroke of the pen. The free water that now bubbles up from street corner and public building is the product of high engineering skill. Two problems had to be mastered. The first problem was the delivery of the water in water-tight iron pipes; for the old pipes of elm wood leaked, the water supply was occasional and especially liable to break down in a fire. But iron pipes were introduced in Chelsea in 1746 and generally in 1820, while in 1820 Lambeth and Chelsea obtained adequate water filters. In this there seems to have been an element of luck. For filter beds were installed to remove visible impurities, and themselves becoming dirty obstructed the passage of invisible bacteria more effectively than clean ones would have done. Advocates of temperance may be shocked to read that 18th-century children usually drank small beer. They should not forget that pure water was almost unobtainable. The second problem was the separation of sewage from the water supply. The first closets emptied into drains which had been constructed for the removal of surplus water; and their contents were taken to the river from which perhaps the inhabitants got their water. This problem was solved by modern systems of sewage disposal and the derivation of water from a long distance. Thus Liverpool went to Lake Vyrnwy in Wales, and Manchester to Thirlmere. It was right, but it is sad that Manchester now needs Mardale, the hidden beauty spot of the English Lakes. In judging the shortcomings of the 19th century it is necessary to distinguish mistakes of avarice or blindness from those which were due to inadequacy of technique. Pure water depended on a new technique, but this cannot be said of dirt removal or provision for fresh air. There was no mechanical difficulty in removing filth as it collected, or in laying bricks with regard for common comfort and health. The trouble was that in the short run slums paid. Shaftesbury found that the vilest houses made the biggest profits. Housing was within the nation's control, and that it was not controlled

is an abiding disgrace to the England that was the workshop of the world.



Section 1. Liberalism and Benthamism. Section 2. The Classical Political Economy. Section 3. The Messages of Cobbett and Owen. Section 4. The Early English Socialists. Section 5. Carlyle, Ruskin and Marx. Section 6. The Novel as a Source of Economic History.

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FOREIGNERS thought that England's zeal for the abolition of the slave trade was cant. She had the lion's share of it and ruled her West Indies worse than France. She converted the heathen and maltreated Christian children at home. But this was because they thought of England as a unit. The Quakers who inspired the crusade were anti-imperial and their own households were in order. There were very few places where 18th-century England could see white slavery, for factories were only just beginning and there were next to none in London. But there were slave ships and plantations, and 18th-century reformers could hardly be expected to detect the analogy between slavery and factory work. The abolition of the trade in 1807 did not end the institution. Therefore in 1823 an Anti-Slavery Society was formed, with T. F. Buxton, a Quaker, in Wilberforce's place, and his chief coadjutors Zachary Macaulay, father of T. B., and the three Stephens-James, and his two sons, Sir James (Mr. Mother Country) and Sir George. Their campaign was an exact anticipation of that of the Anti-Corn Law League. They had placards, lectures, petitions and handsome funds. They faced distractions, Catholic Emancipation and the Reform Bill, and they made no solid progress until in 1830 they demanded emancipation, complete and immediate. They won in 1833; and the nation paid to the slave owners in the Empire £20 millions, of which 15 went to the West Indies. When people are organised in an earnest movement they see only the need for that; and if in the period from 1776 to 1833, from the Wealth of Nations to the first effective factory law, Liberalism seems to us to degenerate into ruthless pessimism, it is because we forget that during the war and its aftermath reformers were working for a cause abroad. It was not selfishness but duty keenly felt, so keenly indeed that the advent of other ills was minimised. At home they lapsed

into the formulae of Benthamism, exaggerating them as an apology for their inaction.

Benthamism was not a reaction to industrialism but a stage in the history of philosophy, the repudiation of tradition and an appeal to reason and utility. The individual was exalted, yet no more than in the age of Adam Smith. Its teaching was abused by being made to subserve the ends of the rich industrialists; but it was not meant in this way, and the majority of essential reforms accomplished between 1820 and 1875 had the Benthamite impress upon them. Bentham indeed was most powerful at the time of his death in 1832.

The services of Benthamism were briefly these. First of all, it inspired the logic of political democracy, substituting utility and quality for abuse and caste. This was the logic of the Reform Act of 1832 and the Municipal Reform Act of 1835. After Bentham's death the political influence of Benthamism bifurcated. One part was taken to Lancashire by his editor and factotum John Bowring, and supplied the cosmopolitan element in the campaign for free trade. The other part remained at London to mix with the views and experiences of the new colonial school-Durham, Grote, Roebuck, Gibbon Wakefield, and Charles Buller, the pupil of Carlyle. Through Durham the views of the radical theorists prevailed over those of the Colonial Office and saved the Empire.

Secondly, it supplied a new measurement for social reform -the maximising of individual happiness. This called for humanitarian legislation, the reform of the savage criminal law and the protection of those who were too weak to protect themselves—children, young persons and women. It also underlay

the solicitude of fiscal reformers for the welfare of the masses. When Peel abolished the Corn Laws, when Gladstone reduced the sugar tax, they emphasised the quantitative aspect. Plenty among more people was put before productive power. The quality' in those days, be it remembered, were the undertaxed few, the 'quantity,' the overtaxed many. The Socialist disciples of Bentham carried the measurement a stage further when they based on it schemes of progressive taxation.

Thirdly, Benthamism supplied an argument for the freedom to combine, for such freedom was one of many freedoms and therefore desirable. Place used this with telling effect when asking for the repeal of the Combination Laws in 1824; and when Place's work was completed half a century later, the individualist formula of Bentham did duty once again (below, P. 394).

Fourthly, it set a value on individual enlightenment, and

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