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co-operative association of workmen, the most signal example of the success of co-operative industry in France; the characteristic manufactures of Amiens, which produce annually more than 20,000,000 francs in value of the various fabrics from the hair of the Angora goat; but the space allotted in this paper for the manufactures of France must be reserved for the most important centre of the combing wool industry.
Of all the manufacturing towns in France there is no one which in activity, enterprise, and rapidity of growth, compares with Roubaix, the “ Bradford” of the empire. Situated upon the borders of French Flanders, its industry is a direct inheritance from the Flemish artisans, who in the middle ages were masters of the woollen industry of the world, and who supplied what Fuller calls that “ treasury of foreigners” who enriched England by the introduction of the Flemish arts. A mere rural hamlet of two hundred families in 1469, overshadowed by the powerful town of Lisle, it was authorized by patent from Charles, Duke of Burgundy, to fabricate a limited class of woollen stuffs. Its powerful neighbor, Lisle, disputed this right, which was finally confirmed by the Emperor. Still, for three centuries an industrial war was carried on between the rival towns, which contributed greatly to the hardihood and enterprise of the victor, which Roubaix has finally become. The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1668, which united Flanders to France, by opening a larger market, gave a broader field to Flemish activity. The prodnction of stuffs at Roubaix, which in 1612 was about 3,000 pieces, regularly increased until 1771, when the production was 38,000 pieces, occupying 40,500 laborers of both sexes, and representing a value of 2,987,500 francs. In 1786 the manufactures of Roubaix were sufficiently important to induce her to take the lead in resisting the consequences of the disastrous treaty of the Marquis de Vergennes, which admitted English goods into the French markets at nominal duties. All its inhabitants, men, women, and children, signed an act by which they bound themselves to wear nothing but the stuffs of France. This movement was followed in all the provinces, and the engagement was kept until the policy of 1786 was repealed and protection restored. True to her traditions, Roubaix, of all the cities of France, is most earnest in denunciation of the relaxation of the protective policy through the recent treaty with England. Within the present year, as appears by the Journal des Economistes, the consultative chambers of arts and manufactures of this and the adjoining city of Tourcoing have protested to the minister of commerce against the renewal of this treaty, declaring that the public fortune of Roubaix has suffered by the treaty to the extent of 200,000,000 of francs. The workmen of Roubaix have petitioned the Emperor to the same effect. The manufacturers of Lisle and Amiens have followed this movement, which is supported by the Moniteur Industrial of January 9, 1868, as follows: “15,000,000,000 this Anglo
French alliance has cost us. Counting the results of the Belgium treaty, and of that which we have concluded with the Zollverein, and we have a total of 20,000,000. The treaties of commerce, the grand economical reform, the works which render illustrious the second half of the 19th century, have carried 20,000,000 to the debtor side of our national balance sheet.”
The ancient device upon the municipal coat of arms of Roubaix embodies in two words the secret of all prosperity in manufactures as well as in common life, Industrie et Probité. Among the masters in textile industry in former times, a faithful fabrication of their stuffs was a point of honor as cherished as bravery in knights and virtue in women. The fabricants of Roubaix resisted the license in the fabrication of stuffs which was permitted after the revolution. They insisted that the ancient municipal regulations established to prevent frauds in manufacture should be preserved, and for forty years, through their chamber of commerce and council of Prudhommes, demanded of the government the restoration of the ancient restrictive regulations.
No city has derived a greater advantage from the freedom which it so earnestly resisted. For the last half century, the industrial life at Roubaix has been only one series of enterprises and happy experiments. Its dominant idea has been to adapt fabrics of luxury to popular consumption by combining the best taste and highest excellence with the lowest possible price. With this idea it has continually varied its materials and styles, combining wool with cotton, with silk, with mohair and flax, but in all the economies of production preserving a grace of decoration and sobriety and harmony of colors which takes from cheapness all its vulgarity. The Anglo-French treaty has compelled Roubaix to enter into direct competition with Bradford in the production of the light and fragile mixtures of wool or goats' hair with cotton warp, such as the bareges, the coburgs and mohairs, which have given such an immense development to the English worsted industry; but it appears, from the recent statements of its manufacturers, that its superior taste and invention have not enabled it to retain the control of the domestic market in conflict with the more powerful capital of England. The great establishments sustain comparison with their English rivals, whose methods, dimensions and machines they have adopted. The rapidity with which the town has advanced is without parallel in France. From a population of 5,000 souls in 1786, it has gone progressively to 10,000 in 1806, 15,000 in 1830, 25,000 in 1840, until it reached 55,000 in 1861, while its production of fabrics has risen from 3,000 to over 400,000 pieces, and the annual value of its manufactures has been increased from 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 to about 200,000,000 francs. This rapid growth is rivalled in Europe only at Bradford, which has been built up by a similar industry. It is remarkable that this marvellous prosperity is due in no respect to any advantages of nature or location. Roubaix had no water power, its natural streams being insufficient to supply the bleacheries;
and even in 1824, its only approach to Lisle was by a road impracticable in winter; the original source of its power was its native population, which had inherited the skill, arts, and enterprise of its Flemish ances. try. The ultimate source of this prosperity has been the happy idea of applying the native skill and taste, aided by the modern powers of steam and machinery, to furnishing in the cheapest and most attractive form the light fabrics for the largest and most important class of consumers, the women and children, and in satisfying the fickleness of female taste by constant variations of textures, styles and colors. The secret of the profitableness of this manufacture is, that the utmost amount of mere machine labor is given to the smallest possible amount of raw material. Sales and estimates of tariff duties in card-wool fabrics are made in a great measure by weight, having reference to the quantity of raw material. In combing-wool fabrics they are made by the yard. It is estimated that a single hoggett fleece from a Lincoln sheep weighing 20 pounds of a length of staple of 17 inches, such as has been sometimes exhibited in England, when used in manufacture to its utmost extent, with cotton, to fabricate the finest alpaca fabrics would suffice to make 16 pieces, or 672 yards, enough for 56 dresses. The same amount of wool made into cloth would not make suits for six men.
M. Benoville states that a careful calculation made at Roubaix in 1843 showed that there were consumed at that place in the manufacture of the class of fabrics in question, 4,536,168 kilograms of wool, of the value of 17,000,000 francs, averaging 3 francs 74 centimes the kilogram. There were consumed, besides, 1,225,000 francs in value of silk and cotton, making the total raw material consumed 18,285,000 francs. The total production of fabrics of this district was valued at 63,000,000 francs. The goods put in consumption, then, had a value three and a quarter times more than that of the raw materials consumed; that is, 3 francs 74 centimes for the raw wool, &c., and 9 francs 35 centimes for the manipulation, cost of capital, and profit.
But it is unnecessary to speculate upon the reasons of the remarkable development during the last half century of the class of manufactures under consideration. Roubaix and Bradford are in themselves enough to demonstrate that the combing wool industry, which, comparatively speaking, we have hardly touched, is for this country the most encouraging field for labor in the whole range of the textile industry.
It remains, pursuing the course adopted with regard to the other great centres, to consider the condition of the industrial population at Roubaix.
The average wages per day actually received, deducting the time actually lost, are stated as follows by the statistical authorities:
Combers of wool: men, 2 francs 60 centimes, (52 cents;) women, 1 franc 80 centimes, (36 cents.) Spinners: men, 2 francs 60 centimes, (52 cents;) women, 1 franc 80 centimes. Weavers: jacquard, 2 franes 25 centimes, (15 cents;) power loom, 2 francs 25 centimes, Dyers: 2 francs 60 centimes, (52 cents.)
It is estimated that the strict expenses for a household of five persons, the father and mother only receiving wages, are 2 francs 70 centimes (54 cents) per day; being 40 centimes (8 cents) for lodging, 1 franc 10 centimes (22 cents) for bread, 75 centimes (15 cents) for other aliments, and 45 centimes (9 cents) for washing, fire and light. In this calculation meat is not included, it being only occasionally used by the workmen. The total cost for the above items per year is between 986 and 1,000 francs. Estimating that the cost of supporting the family falls upon the father and mother, on the average conditions, their united wages are from 1,150 francs to 1,250 francs a year, being an excess above expense in the first case of 150 francs, and in the second of 250 francs. But in the above calculation neither clothing nor furniture are included, and absence from animal food is a condition of the estimate. Where family life must necessarily be so hard and austere, and having scarcely any enjoyment except that derived from performance of duty, we are not surprised to find among the statistics of a city provided even with schools and religious institutions, that in the year 1863, of a population of 54,000 there were but 487 marriages, and that there were 283 illegitimate births, of which 265 were not acknowledged.
It is due to the French social writers and statisticians to say that the facts illustrative of the condition of the laborers are stated without any attempt to justify them on the one hand, or to exaggerate them on the other. It would appear that the evils of the European rule of the compensation of labor are so vast and so entwined with the existing social and political system, that it is vain to attempt to grapple with them. “ The question of wages," says one writer, " is one of the most important questions of our epoch, and perhaps the most difficult to resolve; we shall not attempt to discuss it.” Another writer says: “Before long this question of wages will occupy a more important part than it has done before in the respective accounts and means of defence of the various industries." It is hoped that for this country, at least, the question of wages is solved by adopting the system of protection, not of manufac. tures, but of labor, “as the means of defence of our various industries."
OTHER EUROPEAN NATIONS.
BELGIUM, GERMANY AND AUSTRIA.
The other principal centres of the woollen industry upon the continent of Europe can be passed in review but briefly. In Belgium, the principal seat of the card-wool industry is at Verviers. This city, a century ago a town of 5,000 souls, has acquired through its woollen manufactures a population of 28,000, and with that of its suburbs of 40,000. In 1797 its production amounted to the value of three or four millions of francs. In 1864 the production was valued at 70,000,000 francs, its annual increase being at the rate of 10,000 pieces a year. The reputation of some of its manufacturers is nowhere surpassed, as of M. Sim
monis, whose name stands first among the individuals who were honored by medals in the class of card-wool fabrics at the Paris Exposition. Belgium manufactures principally for foreign consumption, and the United States is one of its largest outlets. It is able to surmount the barriers of our duties, by reducing the wages of its workmen. The day's pay of many weavers does not exceed 1 franc 50 centimes, (30 cents,) and women do not earn more than from 80 centimes (16 cents) to 1 franc, (20 cents.) The average wages at Verviers is 2 francs (40 cents) for twelve hours' work. By means of this cheap labor, stuffs of wool mixed with cotton are produced which cost only from 1 franc (20 cents) to 1 franc 55 centimes (31 cents) the metre. The wear and dye are in proportion to the price. The low wages in Belgium are looked upon with no little alarm by England, and especially by the iron manufacturers.
The woollen manufacture of the Zollverein, that is, Germany without Austria, according to the most recent statements, employs 850,000 spindles, and produces tissues of a value of more than 400,000,000 of francs, of which 50,000,000 are exported. The cloths, especially the fine broadcloths and doeskins, are largely exported to this country. Competition with England and the surmounting of our duties are rendered easy by still lower wages than prevail in Belgium. The average price for a day's work for weavers in the country does not exceed 1 franc 25 centimes, (25 cents,) and for towns 1 franc 75 centimes, (35 cents.) Women are paid one-third less.
The following facts as to the production and wages at Aix-la-Chapelle, one of the most important centres of the card-wool industry, were obtained from Mr. Vesey, United States consul at that city, by Mr. R. W. Robinson:
* Annual production, 150,000 pieces, of 25 yards to the piece.
* Raw wool principally procured from Berlin, Breslau, London, and Antwerp, in the raw state, 7,500,000 pounds; average cost from 40 to 110 thalers, Prussia, the 110 pounds English-say 27 cents to 70 cents per pound, gold.
“ Wages-10,000 workmen. “Men earn from 3 to 5 thalers per week, $2 25 to $3 75. “Women earn from 11 to 3 thalers per week, $1 to $2 25. “Children earn from 3 to 11 thaler per week, 50 cents to $1 121."
Austria works up annually 77,000,000 pounds of wool into tissues which represent a value of $50,000,000. The town of Brunn, in the heart of the pastoral province of Moravia, is one vast cloth factory, having at command an excellent situation at the confluence of two rivers and upon two lines of railroad, and also employing the best processes and machines. Its really admirable goods have been largely introduced into the United States, the introduction having been aided by a system of invoices in fraud of our tariff, hardly equalled in unscrupulousness elsewhere. The prices of sound cloths are the lowest in Europe, and the average wages do not exceed 1 franc 25 centimes (25 cents) a day.