Imágenes de páginas


not by his lodgers. Whereas, at Paris and c H A P. Edinburgh, the people who let lodgings have commonly no other means of fubfiftence; and the price of the lodging must pay, not only the rent of the house, but the whole expence of the family.


Inequalities occafioned by the Policy of Europe.


are the inequalities in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, which the defect of any of the three requisites abovementioned must occasion, even where there is the most perfect liberty. But the policy of Europe, by not leaving things at perfect liberty, occasions other inequalities of much greater importance.

It does this chiefly in the three following ways. First, by restraining the competition in fome employments to a smaller number than would otherwise be disposed to enter into them secondly, by increasing it in others beyond what it naturally would be; and, thirdly, by obstructing the free circulation of labour and stock, both from employment to employment and from place to place.

First, The policy of Europe occasions a very important inequality in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, by restraining the


N 4

BOOK competition in fome employments to a smaller I.

number than might otherwise be disposed to enter into them.

The exclusive privileges of corporations are the principal means it makes use of for this purpose.

The exclusive privilege of an incorporated trade necessarily restrains the competition, in the town where it is established, to those who are free of the trade. To have served an appren. ticeship in the town, under a master properly qualified, is commonly the necessary requisite for obtaining this freedom. The bye-laws of the corporation regulate fometimes the number of apprentices which


master is allowed to have, and almost always the number of years

which each apprentice is obliged to serve. The intention of both regulations is to restrain the compe. tition to a much smaller number than might otherwise be disposed to enter into the trade, The limitation of the number of apprentices reftrains it directly, A long term of apprenticefhip restrains it more indirectly, but as effectu. ally, by increasing the expence of education.

In Sheffield no master cutler can have more than one apprentice at a time, by a bye-law of the corporation, In Norfolk and Norwich no master weaver can have more than two appren. tices, under pain of forfeiting five pounds a month to the king. No mafter hatter can have more than two apprentices any-where in England, or in the English plantations, under pain of forfeiting five pounds a month, half to the


king, and half to him who shall sue in any court c HA P. of record. Both these regulations, though they have been confirmed by a public law of the kingdom, are evidently dictated by the fame corporation spirit which enacted the bye-law of Sheffield. The filk weavers in London had scarce been incorporated a year, when they enacted a bye-law, restraining any master from having more than two apprentices at a time. It required a particular act of parliament to rescind this bye-law.

Seven years seem anciently to have been, all over Europe, the usual term established for the duration of apprenticeships in the greater part of incorporated trades. All such incorporations were anciently called universities; which indeed is the proper Latin name for any incorporation whatever. The university of smiths, the uni. versity of taylors, &c. are expressions which we commonly meet with in the old charters of an, cient towns. When those particular incorpora. tions which are now peculiarly called univer. fities were first eftablished, the term of years which it was neceffary to study, in order to obtain the degree of master of arts, appears evi. dently to have been copied from the term of apprenticeship in common trades, of which the incorporations were much more ancient. As to have wrought seven years under a master pro. perly qualified, was necessary, in order to entitle any person to become a master, and to have him. self apprentices in a common trade; fo to have ftudied seven years under a master properly qua.


BOO K lified was necessary to entitle him to become a 1. master, teacher, or doctor (words anciently fyno,

nimous) in the liberal arts, and to have scholars or apprentices (words likewise originally fynonimous) to study under him.

By the 5th of Elizabeth, commonly called the Statute of Apprenticeship, it was enacted, that no person should for the future exercise any trade, craft, or mystery at that time exercised in England, unless he had previously served to it an apprenticeship of seven years at least, and what before had been the bye-law of many particular corporations, became in England the general and public law of all trades carried on in market towns. For though the words of the statute are very general, and feem plainly to include the whole kingdom, by interpretation its operation has been limited to market towns, it having been held that in country villages a person may exercise several different trades, though he has not served a seven years apprenticeship to each, they being necessary for the conveniency of the inhabitants, and the number of people frequently not being sufficient to supply each with a particular set of hands.

By a strict interpretation of the words too the operation of this statute has been limited to those trades which were established in England before the 5th of Elizabeth, and has never been extended to such as have been introduced since that time. This limitation has given occasion to several distinctions which, considered as rules of police, appear as foolish as can-well be ima,


gined. It has been adjudged, for example, that CHA P. a coach-maker can neither himself make nor employ journeymen to make his coach-wheels; but must buy them of a master wheel-wright; this latter trade having been exercised in England before the 5th of Elizabeth. But a wheel. wright, though he has never served an apprenticeship to a coach-maker, may either himself make or employ journeymen to make coaches; the trade of a coach-maker not being within the statute, because not exercised in England at the time when it was made. The manufactures of Manchester, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton, are many of them, upon this account, not within the statute; not having been exercised in England before the 5th of Elizabeth.

In France, the duration of apprenticeships is different in different towns and in different trades. In Paris, five


is the term required in a great number ; but before any person can be qualified to exercise the trade as a master, he must, in many of them, serve five years more as a journeyman. During this latter term he is called the companion of his master, and the term itself is called his companionship.

In Scotland there is no general law which regulates universally the duration of apprenticefhips. The term is different in different corporations. Where it is long, a part of it may generally be redeemed by paying a small fine. In most towns too a very small fine is sufficient to purchase the freedom of any corporation. The weavers of linen and hempen cloth, the principal


« AnteriorContinuar »