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figures are not very trustworthy. The shifting of population from the South to the North, which had been going on for some time, was given an enormous impetus by the industrial developments which came in the North with the new machinery. The social life of the people was suddenly altered by the rise of the great manufacturing towns. As long as man performed his tasks, almost unaided by mechanical appliances, there was no need of vast industrial armies, and before the application of steam to locomotion, the communities of hand workers were isolated and largely self-sufficing. Their knowledge was limited for the most part to the matters that concerned their particular trade and the immediate neighbourhood. Their homes were scattered through the country, and manufacture and agriculture were combined. But with machinery came the age of specialisationand organisation. The looms and wheels of the hand workers became useless, and the labourers flocked to the owners of the new power machines for employment. The capitalist soon learned the economy and advantages of large mills, production on a vast scale, and the centralisation of all processes, related to any particular industry, in one place. Around the immense factories sprang up thousands of cheap dwellings to be rented to the English freemen. Necessity being largely the “mother of invention,” sanitary science had made scarcely any advance by the beginning of this century, and consequently the industrial towns were built up without decent sanitary provisions. Those who built the dens, miscalled “cottages,” did not have to live in them ; and the problem which confronted the contractors was : How to throw together just enough brick and mortar and slates in form of a house that would not be too uncomfortable and indecent for a human habitation. The artistic, sanitary, social, and moral requirements for even a tolerable existence were not even heeded. The making of money seems to have been generally the aim of life; while the making of healthy, noble, happy human beings was forgotten, or left to the care of spiritual personages who were often willing to allow this world to be turned into hell in order that the inhabitants might inherit paradise to come. The worker in the new factory system was not a citizen, but a marketable producer of commodities. The cities were not intended to be delightful places wherein to dwell, but centres for factories and pens for the shelter of the workers. The development of the civic spirit was yet to come, and indeed, it is still to come in many of the towns of England. For the most part municipal organisations bent their energies to selfish, materialistic business ends; but all the while the manufacturing centres were increasing in importance and the problems which they presented increasing in complexity. Thus we may say that another great mark of the Industrial Revolution is the
PREDOMINANCE OF THE CITY OVER THE COUNTRY
when considered in terms of human life. The following figures reveal a wonderful transformation when we remember that in 1760 the population was almost one-half rural:—
1861 1871 1881 1891 Urban population - 62.3 64.8 66.6 71.7 Rural population - 37.7 35.2 33.4 28.3
That this movement cityward is largely the result of the mechanical revolution is shown by the comparative increase of town population in countries where the machine industries are the most highly developed. The evils of overcrowding in towns at the beginning of this century were aggravated from the want of railways and trams, which provide rapid transportation to and from work, and allow the population to be more widely scattered. The effects of large aggregations of people upon the life and character of the individuals are far-reaching and complex. In spite of the improved sanitary arrangements and the increased medical skill in our times, life in the towns is shorter than in the country, and is more beset with disease and infirmities while it lasts. According to Dr. Ogle: “The combined effect of this constantly higher mortality of the towns, and of the constant immigration into them of the pick of the rural population, must clearly be a gradual deterioration of . the whole, inasmuch as the more energetic and vigorous members of the community are consumed more rapidly than the rest of the population. The system is one which leads to the survival of the unfittest.” Many reformers are mistaken in laying all of the ills of modern city life to mechanical industry, for it is shown to be illfounded by the prevalence of sweating, and worst conditions of life and work in the hand-labour trades. When we turn back to the records which tell us of the sad annals of toil, we wonder what a patient creature the worker has been in all times, and, instead of condemning his occasional outbursts, we are surprised at his moderation. Sec. 8–Progress and Poverty. In 1789, when the In
dustrial Revolution was getting a fair start in England, the French Revolution broke out. The fall of the Bastille, whose sombre walls stood for all that was tyrannical in the old order, was a signal of the passing of the ancient regime. The revolt of the people against their oppressors at first met with considerable favour on the part of prominent statesmen as well as the people in England, but the disorder and murderous excesses frightened the law and order party. The belligerent attitude of the Republic and the evident determination upon extensive conquest led to war with all Europe. In 1793, England was drawn into the vortex for many reasons. The doctrines proclaimed by the revolutionary party in France were dangerous to the privileged classes in England, and English commercial supremacy was to be maintained at any cost. From that year onward until the crushing defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, England was engaged in playing a costly part in the continental struggle. Though not the scene of actual conflict, England's share in the war cost #831,446,449. During this period the wealth of the nation was piling up with astonishing rapidity, but the poverty of the people was intensifying. In 1760, the poor rate was £1,250,000, or 3s. 7d. per head; and in 1818 it had risen to £7,870,000, or 13s. 3d. per head of population. Evidently the people did not derive much benefit from the new inventions. As Gibbins says: “The profits all went into the hands of the capitalist manufacturers, while taxation fell with special severity upon the poor, since taxes were placed upon every necessity and convenience of daily life. Even as late as 1841 there were 1,200 articles in the Customs tariff. The price of wheat, moreover, rose to famine height; from 49s. 3d. per quarter in 1793 to 69s. in 1799, to 113s. in 1800, and Ioffs. in 1810. At the same time, wages were falling rapidly, and thus the chief burdens of war fell on those least able to pay for them ; but the poverty of the poor was the wealth of the landowners, who kept on raising rents continually, and grew rich upon the starvation of the people; for they persuaded Parliament to prohibit corn except at famine prices, and shifted the burden of taxation, as was not unnatural, upon other shoulders.” During these sad years in the history of English toil, the political economists were busy with “over-population,” enlightened self-interest, and the relation of wages to capital; but the people were, fortunately, beginning to think a little for them selves. It soon became evident to the nation at large that unrestrained individualism in industry had failed to give health, happiness, or decent conditions of livelihood. The age of revolt was not far off.