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here. It offers a means of improving the condition of the workmen certainly not less practical than the system of co-operation which is now being so earnestly recommended to public favor, but which does not seem of easy application in the textile industry.
A characteristic feature in the manufacturing system of Elbeuf that while there are many complete establishments where wool enters in the fleece and issues in finished fabrics, the dominant industry of this town is the application of distinct processes of manufacture, single establishments being devoted wholly to preparing wool, others to carding, or spinning, or dyeing. Each of the processes of washing the wool, drying, burring, carding, supplying patterns, weaving, spinning, fulling, gigging, pressing, and packing, constitute separate industries. There are 20 great dyeing establishments, 12 for spinning, 50 for working up waste, many drying establishments, &c., and many houses which are commercial rather than industrial, uniting these different industries to produce fabrics which they put in the market. This system is very advantageous to the small fabricant who has but little capital at command. He can choose for each kind of operation the special establishment where it is done best, and at the least expense. The advantages are so marked that many wealthy houses avail themselves of it. It is well worthy of consideration whether this system could not be advantageously introduced in some of the great manufacturing centres in this country. It prevails here to a limited extent, as for spinning yarns. It has recently been applied to washing and preparing wool. It may be found, as has been the experience at Elbeuf, that where both systems, that of concentration and dispersion of labor, prevail, it is advantageons to the general advancement of the manufacturing industry.
All the regions where the woollen industry is pursued in France have a comparatively improved aspect, showing the increase of wealth which manufactures have added to the national resources of the soil. The cottages with only a single room are less frequent, and here and there may be seen the dwelling of a workman indicating a comfort and decency of living which is rare among the peasantry of France. Yet the condition of the common workmen at Elbeuf, judged by the American standard, is far from being easy or enviable. The whole number working within and without the town is estimated at 24,000.
The following statement of their average wages is derived from statistical documents prepared since 1864 by a former mayor and president of the Chamber of Commerce of Elbeuf:
For children, limited to 8 hours' work, 75 centimes to 1 franc 10 centimes, (equal to 15 cents to 22 cents;) for those working 12 hours, 1 franc 25 centimes to 1 franc 50 centimes, (equal to 25 cents to 30 cents:) youths from 16 to 18 years old, 1 franc 50 centimes, (equal to 30 cents;) workmen by the day, 2 francs to 3 francs, (equal to 40 cents to 60 cents;) men working by the task or piece, 3 francs to 4 francs 50 centimes, (equal to 61) cents to 90 cents)—these are more numerous than the day workmen;
workmen working by the day, 1 franc 10 centimes to 2 francs, (equal to 22 cents to 40 cents;) women working by the piece, 1 franc 75 centimes to 2 francs 50 centimes, (equal to 35 cents to 50 cents.) It is estimated by M. Reybaud that in the most ordinary cases the yearly wages for men are 750 francs, ($150;) for women, 525 francs, ($105;) for young men and girls, 375 francs, ($75;) for children, 225 francs, ($15.)
The prices of food and lodging are relatively high at Elbeuf. Meat costs 1 franc 60 centimes the kilogram, (or 17 cents per pound,) and potatoes 5 to 6 francs the bushel. The food of the men, such only as serves merely to support life, costs per year 350 francs, ($70;) house rent, 125 francs, ($25;) other necessary expenses for maintenance, 160 to 180 francs, ($32 to $36.) On this scale of living the workman is able to eat meat only on Sunday, the only animal food on weekdays being saltherring or mackerel; and even with this meagre sustenance there is hardly any margin for saving or amusement. The invariable consequence of the reduction of the compensation of labor to the bare neces. sities of life, the system which free trade demands to have applied in this country, is shown at Elbeuf in the moral degradation of the working classes. The consumption of alcohol at the drinking shops is, for the whole population of the town, 16 litres (28 pints) per head, or, deducting the women and the children, 50 to 60 litres (from 80 to 100 pints) for the average consumption of the frequenters of the cabaret. “On the other hand,” says M. Reybaud, "the women give themselves up to other tastes. Their toilettes consume their savings, and their scruples are not in general very vivid as to the means of increasing the same when it is insufficient.” One proof of the general looseness of morals among the whole people is the custom which prevails among men and women to resort for the night's lodging to vast dormitories, where both sexes are mingled in a common, unlighted apartment, without partitions, and wholly free from surveillance or restraint. Another evidence of the low morality of the workmen is the common practice among the hand weavers to sequestrate a portion of the yarn delivered to them to be woven. It is estimated that some workmen by this means add a quarter to a third to their stipulated pay. It is thus that labor revenges itself for insufficient wages.
In looking at the woollen industry at this important centre, as a whole, we find this industry, viewed merely as an art, in the highest state of perfection, and presenting in taste and processes everything worthy of imitation; but, while art thrives, and employers are enriched, labor is degraded, morality is depressed, and humanity suffers. When we see the benevolent men of France candidly publishing such facts as are stated above, and acknowledging and deploring the evils of the social system inherited from the old feudalism of Europe, shall we not submit to the slight sacrifice demanded to reconcile, in this country, what Europe has failed to do—progress in the industrial arts, with a just compensation to labor ?
The woollen industry of Sedan, although of the same general character as that which flourishes with greater prosperity at Elbeuf, deserves special notice from the celebrity of its products. The manufacture of cloths was pursued by isolated workmen from Flanders, when Colbert applied his vast energies to give a national character to the manufactures of France. He gave to Abbeville, Van Robais, a legacy chronicled by Thiers as more valuable to France than the conquests of Louis XVI, which struck down the Spanish power, and to Sedan, Nicholas Cadeau, a master in his art, who soon converted the modest production of the hamlets into an urban manufacture. Establishments for dyeing, carding, and dressing were brought within the walls and became protected by the cannon of the citadel. That which, above all, promoted the success of the manufactures of this city after their first establishment, was the fidelity with which its cloths were fabricated; the marks of its fabrics were, like the marks on Swedish iron, or the tower mark on English silver, infallible seals of excellence. The black and blue cloths preserved their reputation from generation to generation, and many houses of Sedan are still faithful to the ancient traditions, as proved by one gold medal and eight silver medals, and none of less degree, awarded at the Exposition.
It is singular that an invention originating in Sedan should have changed the ancient system which made excellence in material and fabrication the essential qualities of cloths. This invention was that of the modern styles of fancy cloths, and was due to one of those happy chances which often lead to great results when improved by intelligence. M. Bonjean, an educated manufacturer, one day found among his products a piece of goods which was defective in body on account of the dead wool of which it was fabricated. It occurred to him that he could gire body to the wool by incorporating some fibres of silk in the warp. Upon combining the wool with the silk he found that the latter was not incorporated in the fabric, but made a distinct design upon the cloth. Improving upon the idea here suggested by using the Jacquard loom, he finished a fabric and sent it to a leading tailor at Paris. To his astonishment he had an immediate order for more goods of the same styles; still more variety was given to the fabrics, and the stuffs received the name of the Bonjean patterns. This was the origin of the fancy cassimeres, and other stuffs, which now comprise three-quarters of the production of card-wool goods, but which, unhappily for Sedan, built up the city of Elbeuf, the most formidable of its rivals.
Leaving the consideration of the technical for that of the social aspects of the industry at Sedan, we are interested in observing the superior morality of the workmen of this city, which is partly attributed to a smaller population, as compared to other manufacturing cities of France, but mainly to most honorable efforts on the part of the manufacturing employers.
The increased use of strong alcoholic drinks in consequence of the dearness of the wines, has caused drunkenness to become a prevailing evil among the manufacturing population of France. “For the first time in the course of my travels,” says Mr. Reybaud, “I have found at Sedan a population which was able to defend itself against drunkenness. The first honor is due to the chief of the manufacturing houses. By a concert which should be taken for an example, they have closed the doors of their ateliers against workmen with whom this vice was notorious, who themselves consent to this exclusion. The strife has been a long one, and with any other population, perhaps, the reform would not have succeeded. At Sedan it has had full success : acting first upon those less hardened, it has ended by reclaiming or improving the most obdurate. Towards those who, with the best intentions, would occasionally yield to temptation, they have shown indulgence, admitting them to the benefit of successive amendments; provided it was recognized that the cases were less frequent and less grave, their presence in the mill was tolerated. The condition was that they should make a sincere confession, or that the wife, the party so deeply interested, should ask favor for the husband's delinquency. The results of this reform are exhibited by the statement given of the habits of the workmen of Sedan by a former member of the assembly: "The working population are very regular. The life in the family is the rule. The religious sentiment prevails in the mass and manifests itself in acts. The workmen do not frequent the cabaret on Sunday. They pass the day with their wives and children in the little garden which is the object of their ambition. Education is spreading every day; a man of 30 years who cannot read and write is a rare exception."" The economy produced by these habits, and cheapness of food and lodging, enable the workmen to sustain themselves upon the small wages; which are, for spinners working by the piece, from 3 france to 5 francs 50 centimes (60 cents to $1 10) per day of 12 hours. The women, spinning by the piece, earn 1 franc 50 centimes (30 cents) per day. The weavers, working by the piece, can earn 4 francs (80 cents) per day. The ordinary workmen receive 20 centimes (4 cents) per hour, or 2 francs 40 centimes (48 cents) per day. The women average 1 franc 20 centimes, (24 cents,) and children 75 centimes (15 cents) per day. The absolutely necessary expenses of living of a single workman earning 750 francs ($150) a year are stated at 661 francs, ($132 20;) being for food and lodging, 531 franes, (8106 20;) tobacco, 20 francs, (81:) washing and general expenses, clothing, &c., 100 francs, ($20;) leaving the pittance of 89 francs ($17 80) for luxuries and savings. It is supposed in the above estimate that the workman, as is the usual practice, eats animal food once a day.
REGION DU MIDI.
The region of the middle of France comprises the third important centre of the card-wool industry of that country, but contrasting strongly
in its character with that of the districts before described. Its principal points are Lodève, Mazamet, and Bedarieux, while there are many less important localities. The common character of the production of this group, Mazamet only being excepted, is its adaptation to popular consumption. The foundation of the manufacture consists in the fabrication of strong cloths for workmen and army use, recommending themselves rather by their serviceableness than their appearance. A noticeable feature of the woollen industry of this group is, that the goods for common nse are not trashy imitations of showy fabrics, but pretend to be no more than they are, common but serviceable goods. The manufacturers of this group supply nearly all the cloths consumed in the French army. The government demands only two conditions, a moderate price and faithfulness in execution. The rigid requirements of the government cause the most severe scrutiny on the part of the manufacturer, and have cultivated honesty of fabrication among the workmen. The absolute reliability with respect to these fabrics has opened a very important trade in cloths with the stationary people of the east, this trade having been established some generations ago.
Bedarieux, with a population of 9,000 souls, has 5,000 woollen workmen and as many more in the environs. The goods are manufactured principally with reference to exportation; through the means of commercial houses at Marseilles it sends its products to the markets of the Levant, or the French possessions in Africa and often to India. In this trade certain conditions have to be scrupulously observed to maintain the honor of the marks upon the cloths and guard the confidence of the eastern customers. For example: for the Levant there are required two sorts of cloths, the stamboul, which is a heavy cloth, and the mahout, which is a light cloth. The weight of the stuff must correspond exactly to the denomination assigned to it. For the army cloths 40 kilograms of wool give regularly 43 metres of stuff. For the cloths destined for the Lerant the proportions are lowered. The stamboul, which is used for cloaks, requires only 44 kilograms of wool for 50 metres of cloth. The mahout requires 37 kilograms of wool for 60 metres of stuff, the price and quality decreasing in the ratio of the quantity of material employed. In the east the stuffs are both measured and weighed, and the goods are not received unless the measure and weight conform. With the fixed habits of the east the consumption of these goods is constant and regular. Here is a case where an important trade supplying all the armies of France, and an immense and increasing population at the east, has been established for generations mainly upon the commercial honor of the manufacturer. Our former trade with the east in brown drillings is a similar example.
The manufacturers of this group are not wholly limited to the specialties above mentioned Bedarieux has almost the monopoly of cloth for caps, of which it sends forth, principally to Paris, 250,000 pieces a year. Mazamet, a town in this group, through the enterprise of a single manu