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tion. They are exceedingly careful as to the characters of the females they employ, and from the arrangements they have made, a perseverance in an improper course could not long escape detection. We may mention as an illustration of the scrupulous care the Messrs. Westley exercise in reference to the character and conduct of the females in their extensive establishment, that a single act of levity, or even a look indicative of a light disposition, is sure to be followed by the dismissal of the party. In the generality of book-binding establishments, the same scrupulous regard for the good conduct of young females is not, we are aware, to be met with; and consequently as respects them, there may be considerable truth in the theory to which we have formerly alluded. We shall be gratified, if the circumstance of our having called attention to the salutary regulations which exist in the establishment of the Messrs. Westley, in reference to the conduct of the young females in their employ, should not only be adopted by other book-binding houses, but be introduced into every other establishment in the metropolis, where numbers of unmarried females are employed. Not only would the result be highly beneficial to the young women themselves, but society and public morals would be great gainers by it.
But we may be told that on the hypothesis of the young females leading strictly virtuous lives, after they have quitted their employment for the day, we have not accounted for the handsome manner in which many of them dress, who only receive from ten to twelve shillings a-week. To us it appears that in most cases it may be accounted for, from the circumstance of their living with their parents or near relations, who lodge and board them gratuitously, or for a mere trifle; and thus enable them to expend nearly all their earnings on dress. In other instances, where the parents of the girls are not in a condition to afford them this assistance, they submit to almost incredible privations in the way of meals, in order that they may be able to indulge their passion for dress. Many of them scarcely ever partake of any other food than a cup of tea and a slice of bread, morning and evening; and a crust of bread and a morsel of cheese in the middle of the day.
Hitherto we have confined our observations and statistics, to the young women employed in the bookbinding establishments of the metropolis. Let us now make a few remarks relative to young females employed in other branches of business. A large number are employed in making stocks. Those unacquainted with the statistics of this business can have no idea of the extent to which it is carried on in London. We have not been able to procure information on which we can rely, as to the entire number of females who live by making stocks in the metropolis ; neither have we any data by which we might form a probable conjecture on the subject. But that the number so employed, must be very large, may be inferred from the fact, that the rapidly. rising house of Mr. Alexander Grant and Brothers, of Clement's Court, Cheapside, alone, employs no fewer than from 400 to 500 young women, in the making of this one article. Their weekly earnings, as they work by the piece, vary from eight to eighteen shillings. The above number of young women are employed direct by the Messrs. Grant, and get their materials from their warehouse ; but several of those so employed, after taking the materials to their respective homes, “sub-engage,” if that be a proper phrase, a number of girls, and pay them so much for their labour. Of course, as the females who are engaged by the stock-merchant, must have their profit on the work done by the girls whom they employ in their time, the earnings of the young women who receive their employment at second-hand, instead of going direct and at once to the warehouse, must necessarily be very small. Their earnings are in many cases as low as five shillings per week; in no instance do they exceed halfa-guinea.
Another branch of business, in which a great number of young women are employed, is that of making shirt-collars. The work, as in the case of stockmaking, is given “out of the house,” as the technical phrase is ; but the remuneration is not so great. Perhaps the average weekly earnings do not exceed eight shillings. Mr. Hickling, of Noble Street, and Mr. Hellaby, of Gutter Lane, are the two most extensive dealers in shirt-collars. What the number of hands is which either or both of these houses employ, I have not been able to ascertain; but I have reason to believe that the number of females employed by this branch of trade generally, is from 2,500 to 3,000.
It will surprise those unacquainted with such matters, to be informed that shirt-making is a distinct business from shirt-collar making, and that the two businesses are carried on in most cases by different houses. The number of females employed in the making of shirts is very considerable. Those who are intimately acquainted with the business assuré me, that at least from 4,000 to 5,000 earn
a livelihood, though in most cases, a very indifferent one, by plying the needle at shirt-making. Where they are employed on very fine and expensive shirts, fair wages are obtained, but as the number of fine and expensive shirts is greatly disproportioned to that of coarse and cheap ones, the same disproportion exists between those who receive a fair reward for their labour, and those whose wages scarcely deserve the name of remuneration. Will it be be. lieved, that there are several houses in London which only give four shillings and six-pence for making a dozen of shirts, which is at the rate of four-pence half-penny each! Of course these are what are called plain-made shirts. And yet, with all their plainness, the best and most industrious hands are not able to make more than two per day; in other words, can only earn nine-pence per day, or four shillings and six-pence per week. We leave our readers to form the best idea their imaginations can enable them, of what must be the privations and misery, of the poor creatures that are doomed to toil from morning to night for these wretched wages. Of course those only will do so, who are either unfitted for, or who are unable to procure, more profitable employment; but, alas ! such unfortunate creatures are always numerous in London. What reduces the price of plain shirt-making in the metropolis so much below that of other needle-work, is the circumstance, of the London workers having to encounter so much competition from females employed in the same branch of trade in the country. Immense numbers of shirts are made in Portsea, Portsmouth, and several other towns, for the London market. If the reader was surprised, when informed that shirts are made at the rate of four shillings and six-pence in town, how great must be his astonishment felt, when we pledge ourselves for the truth of the statement, that in the places mentioned, shirts are, in some cases, actually made as low as a halfa-crown per dozen, or two-pence half-penny each ! The most extensive metropolitan shirt-makers are Messrs. J. B. & W. Newell, of Maiden Lane, and Messrs. S. N. Silver and Co., Cornhill. The former house usually employs about 1,000 hands; the latter house employs about 1,200 females in shirt-making, and 400 or 500 in other branches of their business, which is of a miscellaneous nature.
In our next article we shall advert to a few more of the leading branches of business, in which our young women are employed.
THE PRODIGAL SON. If the father of the prodigal son had said, “My son, I would willingly receive thee, but not such as thou art ; how shall I admit thee in this state, covered with rags, sunk in vicious habits, and thine affections alienated from me ? Go first and render thyself worthy of my pardon, clothe thyself suitably, reestablish thy health, reform thy ways, return then to me, and my house will be open to thee.” What would have become of the prodigal child, had his father held to him such language? Would he not have said, 'I am to be clad in suitable apparel, and I am in misery; I am to reform my ways, and I live among corrupters; I am to re-establish my health, and my food is the husks which the swine do eat; I am to love my father, and I live under his dis