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with. Any such idea would savour of insanity. The system is a general and national benefit, a prime source of wealth and comfort. Without the immense multiplication of productive power which it. gives us, our supremacy as a manufacturing country would be at an end. All that I have wished to point out is, as I have said, that though a great, it is not an unqualified good. As there is some spirit of good in things evil, so most great goods have their attendant drawbacks. To this rule the good thing that we have in the division of labour is no exception, and I have only laid stress upon the fact because it so happens that here the drawbacks tell chiefly against the artisan classes. The workman who under the subdivision system is trained and kept to one piece of work (perhaps the hundredth part, and not an important part), of some elaborate engine or process, will become wonderfully expert at that work. The celerity and accuracy with which he makes use of the special appliances which in such a case are certain to be provided will probably be as remarkable as the mechanical ingenuity of the appliances themselves. But away from this particular piece of work, or deprived of his special appliances, he is comparatively useless. He has no general knowledge or experience,. no facility in turning his hand to different though related operations, no adaptability, no talent for mechanical makeshift or improvisation. There are individual exceptions to this position. Some may have been general hands before settling down as single-job men. Others, appreciating the significance (to them) of the situation, may have privately been at pains to qualify themselves for varying their usefulness, or they may be blessed with a faculty for adapting themselves to modifications of trade environment. Generally speaking, however, the single-job man finds himself very disadvantageously situated in these present times of trade fluctuations and revolutions. The range within which he can hope to find employment at which he can be confident of approving himself of market value is strictly limited, and if by some new invention or change of fashion his special work is superseded, he finds himself in a very unfortunate predicament.

By those who have no practical knowledge of the workshop life of the artisan classes a good deal of trade romance is indulged in. When some merchant makes it known that in answer to an advertisement for a clerk at a hundred a year he has had a thousand or more applications, newspapers are given to improve the occasion in social leaders. They adorn the tale in a great variety of ways, but they allmost invariably point the same moral. This moral is addressed to parents a guardians and runs-Do not put your sons to clerking, apprentice them to handicrafts. The conclusion here may be a sound one, but so me of the premisses from which it is usually deduced are certainly mistaken and misleading ones. It is assumed that mechanics, unlike clerks, need never be out of employment save by their own will or through their own fault. But this

is only intermittently true of any, and is very rarely true of all trades at the same time.

In periods of trade depression-and such periods have increased in frequency and length of late years-thousands of artisans are out of employment, and, as with clerks, some individuals are more. unfortunate than others in this respect. Even when trade is moderately brisk it will be found that a considerable percentage of craftsmen are still out of employment. In all the large trades there. is a margin of men over and above the average demand. Otherwise it would be impossible to meet the exigencies of occasional spurts and rushes in trade. The latter condition is what constitutes the actual 'pull' of the mechanic over the clerk. In most trades there do come times when the demand for skilled workmen in them is fully up to and even in excess of the supply; times in which there is not only work for all hands, but in which wages rule high and there is overtime to be made-times, therefore, which afford an opportunity of in some measure making up for out-of-work periods. Whether such good times would continue to come if the numbers of the surplus clerk population were added to the ranks of the mechanics, is a question that need not be debated here.

The newspaper moralisers speak off-handedly of the skilled workman earning his two or three pounds a week. That there are artisans who do earn such a rate of pay is most true, but as a general estimate this is decidedly too high. I am not aware that there are any exact statistics bearing on the point, but I feel quite certain that, taking London and the provinces, large towns and small, one trade with another, it would be fully stating, not to say overstating, the case to put the average earnings of artisans at thirty-five shillings a week.

Again, it is said that the clerk is bound to keep up an appearance,' however inadequate may be his means to that end; the inference left to be drawn being that the artisan has not an appearance to keep up. This impression is a thoroughly erroneous one. True, there are no formulated sumptuary laws regulating artisan apparel either in or out of the workshop, but there are laws of wont and custom that are none the less powerful because they are unwritten. Dress with the mechanic is not a matter of respectability of appearance only, it is an indication of his character as a workman, and is so regarded. The slouchy, out-at-elbow, down-at-heel craftsman will be slouchy, and coarse, and careless over his work. The slouch is the bête noire of managers and foremen, the butt of fellow-workmen. He is the last to be taken on, the first to be dismissed. To him are most frequently applied the 'tongue dressings' in which some foremen are given to indulge, and he is the man of all others most conscious of deserving and least well situated for resenting such dressings. Other things being at all equal, the man who shows up each Monday morning in clean overalls will be taken on or kept on in preference

to the one whose only anxiety-supposing he has any anxiety upon the point at all-is that his unwashed, unwashable, unworkmanlike garments may originally have been of a colour calculated not to show the dirt.' Out of the workshop, in what stands to the working class as society, the well-paid artisan who did not dress better than, and differently from, the poorly-paid unskilled labourer would lose caste. Not only his fellow-craftsmen, but the labourers also, would despise him.

With artisans it is de rigueur to have a customary suit of solemn black' for Sundays and best, and a second-best suit for evening wear. When to the cost of these is added the cost of wear and tear, both by work and washing, of working clothes, it will be evident, I think, that the charges upon the artisan under the head of keeping up appearances must be to the full as heavy as those upon an ordinary clerk. I am not writing in correction of the mistaken notions here adverted to with any view to dissuading parents from putting their sons to trades rather than to clerking. I am no advocate for keeping trades close by anything in the nature of artificial restrictions. There is no need for any policy of that kind. The evolutionary method is distinctively operative on this head, and is all-sufficient. In the breeding of artisans only the fit and fittest develop and survive, and their competition, though it is with each other, is also with employers, and tends on the whole to extend trade and keep up wages. The mere 'sticket' or incompetent clerk is not of the fibre of which mechanics are made. As to the stronger grained kinds of youth, if they have any pronounced natural bent for a mechanical calling, they will probably be put to it. If they are indifferent as between clerking and handicraft work, they are quite as likely to succeed—or fail—in the one as the other. At any rate, in the trades there is room enough for all who are fit. In the nature of things the skilled workmen of the country cannot be few, but also in the nature of things they must be fit, otherwise they will as craftsmen perish in the struggle for existence.

The above points of relation between clerks and artisans are well worthy of consideration; still, here they are to a certain extent merely by the way. The point of the general comparison, more immediately in the present connection, is that in which the superior interest of a mechanical calling is dwelt upon. The advisers of the crowded-out clerks picture the workman rather as an inspired artist than a commonplace artisan. They speak of him as regarding as almost living things the machine which he works and the wonderful engine or apparatus he is helping to construct. They dwell upon the feeling of delight and consciousness of power which he must experience as the crude material takes form and function under his skilful hands, and suggest that his work must excite in his mind an interest second only to that which agitates an inventor working out

his models. His labour is represented as affording him an infinite variety, under which it is impossible for his trade to stale upon him, and contrasted with which the routine work of an office must indeed be wearisome.

This is a very pretty picture, and one of which personally I can only say, Would that it were true! Unfortunately it is not true. Applied to the bulk of the artisan classes, it is the reverse of true. By the system of subdivision of labour, a man is trained to some single piece of work without any reference to a knowledge of the complicated whole of which it may be a simple part. He is kept to that piece of work day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, until-if he is the kind of man who would take an interest in his work under more favourable circumstances-it becomes a weariness of the flesh to him. His limbs and mind become almost automatical in relation to it. He is rung in and out to work at fixed times, is constantly doing the same thing in the same fashion, and working alongside of other men subject to like conditions. He is not allowed to show-in any practical form, at any rate-interest in any work other than his own, as it is accounted a fault for him to be found away from his own post, and much more from his own department.

In this way workshop life becomes thoroughly monotonous, becomes, in Mr. Mantalini's phrase, 'One demd horrid grind.' A man may work for a lifetime in a tool shop without having any general knowledge of machine construction, or any opportunity of acquiring such knowledge so far as his life in the shop is concerned. Or he may be engaged in a marine or locomotive engine factory, with a similar lack of knowledge of the mechanical principles underlying steam propulsion. So far as his individual powers of output are in question, he may be no worse a workman for this want of general knowledge. Indeed, there are extreme partisans of the subdivision system who contend that he is all the better a workman for it, just as there are people who will tell you that a household servant is all the better for being unable to read or write, as in that case she will not waste time in reading or be able to possess herself of the contents of your postcards. To an easy-going man the circumscribed conditions and monotony of much of our workshop life may not be particularly irksome, any more than a monotonous office routine would be irksome to an easy-going clerk. Still this does not alter the facts that many of our artisans have to work in a changeless millhorse-like round which is depressing to their intelligence; that the fancy portrait of the British artisan set before the out-of-work clerk as a picture of what he might be is not true to life; and that men, like materials, are deteriorated more by rust than wear.

If as a general thing work could be made interesting to the men

and the men be brought to take an interest in the work, it would be better alike for work and workmen; would add to our power and resource as a manufacturing nation. But if it is admitted that only by availing ourselves of the advantages unquestionably inherent in the system of the subdivision of labour can we expect to maintain our lead in international competition-if this is admitted, how, it may be asked, is an intelligent and pleasurable interest in their work to be created in the minds of our craftsmen? The question is an obvious one, not so the answer. Probably there is no complete answer to it. It would be too much to hope that the drawbacks to the subdivision system could be altogether removed. To a certain extent they are, like the advantages of the system, inherent. Moreover, the im-perfectibility of poor human nature' forbids so full a hope. In the multitude of artisans there are and always will be some weaker brethren, men of muscle and manipulative skill, but so constituted mentally that they have no desire and but little capacity for bringing intelligence to bear upon their work. These are the kind of men, who, if they are by any accident moved out of the one groove in which they have been set running, spoil work for want of putting a few grains of thought into it, and then tell you that they are not paid to think. They have no trade ambition, no desire for trade knowledge beyond being able to turn out the regulation quantity of work, in the execution of which they have attained an automatical efficiency. The degree to which such men become mere machines, mere human tools directed in use by the intelligence of others, is less the fault of the system under which they work than of their character. In a lesser a much lesser-degree even the better and best types of artisans are mechanicalised by being constantly kept at one piece of work. That is a matter of course, is what is aimed at by and expected from the modern methods of manufacturing organisation.

It is more or less true of all men that 'their nature is subdued to what it works in.' Were it not so, the advantages of subdivision of labour would be non-existent. But with the utmost allowance made on this head it still remains true that our skilled workmen would be more efficient specialists if opportunities were afforded them of acquiring a wider general knowledge of the respective crafts in which they are engaged. The great bulk of them are quite capable of assimilating such knowledge, and would be perfectly willing to acquire it under conditions adapted to their environment. That the acquisition of such knowledge would be beneficial to themselves is certain, and it is equally certain that it would be highly beneficial to the manufacturing interests of the country at large.

That the diffusion of such knowledge among our craftsmen is a consummation devoutly to be wished, none except a few bigots will for a moment doubt. The question is, How is the desirable consummation to be effected? Alterations in the conditions of apprentice

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