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nation, seeing that the Imperial library at St Petersburg contains some 10,000 volumes more than we have in that of the British Museum. Now, as he must have known that his words would be reported in the Manchester newspapers, and as the contest between the masters and the men is the most engrossing topic in that town at the present moment, it seems rather strange that he should have occupied a whole evening in talking about the war, the United States, and the newspaper press, and never found time to say a simple word about the strike. Many of the men who were listening to him were spinners and weavers in the neighbouring factories. They had probably been asked to subscribe in aid of the Manchester turn-outs, and would doubtless have liked to hear the opinions of a man who must have studied all these questions, and who is not only a millowner, but a legislator. In his lecture to the mechanics and operatives of Marsden, he told them that "men were not placed upon this earth merely to weave and sell cloth;" a truth which seems to have been sadly forgotten in Lancashire of late years, although he was not bold enough to say that. He advised them also to bring up their children so that they should read and think; and that "if ever they got into a war, they should know its definite object, cost, probable result, and whether the things to be obtained would at all pay for the charges of blood and treasure that would have to be incurred." Here would have been an excellent opportunity for him to make a few remarks on the Manchester strike, in which his audience would have taken a much deeper interest than they can possibly feel with reference to the abolition of the newspaper stamp; or about the wonderful progress of the United States, with its representative institutions more complete than ours," and its very cheap army and navy. He might have advised them to study the laws which regulate the labour market, with a view to prevent such disastrous collisions between masters and men as those which occur so frequently in Lancashire; and he might have added that the masters, taking them as a body, stand as much
in need of education as the men, in order to fit them for the proper exercise of their duty to those in their employment.
A little reflection upon Mr Bright's antecedents, however, would have shown that it would hardly have been safe for him to touch upon the factory question under any aspect. Few persons in Lancashire can have forgotten his speeches against the Ten Hours Bill-a measure which has already been so beneficial to the labouring classes. No member of the House of Commons ever committed himself more completely by prophesying evil as the result of a threatened measure than Mr Bright did with reference to that bill; and yet all his gloomy predictions have been completely falsified. Instead of inflicting ruin upon trade, it has greatly improved the condition of the operatives, while the profits of the millowners have been high enough under its operation to draw a large amount of capital into the trade within the last few years.
Nor would it have been prudent, perhaps, for Mr Bright to enter upon a discussion of the question at issue between the masters and the men as to the way in which the production of cotton goods and yarn has lately been forced beyond the legitimate demand, to the great injury of the community at large-morally, socially, and commercially. In a very remarkable speech which he delivered to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce last February, with a view to disgust the members of that association with the war, he spoke in very strong terms of the "fierce competition which prevailed at that time in the staple trade of Lancashire.
rule," said Mr Bright," rather more "We are all now producing, as a than our customers consume. all anxious not to suspend our operations, and we are all competing for the diminished number of customers; and the consequence is, that profits are almost universally brought down to nothing; and in many branches of trade, there cannot be the slightest doubt there is actually loss being made by those who are regularly engaged in them. Well, then, if profits are gone, what comes of employment? We know at this moment that, if it were not for the annoyance which it gives to spinners and manufac
turers to see their works shut two or three days a-week, and their hands idling about-and that they don't like to submit to a pressure which their neighbours are still able and willing to bear-if it were not for that-a feeling of pride, to a large extent or for a feeling of good will to the work-people in some, or for hopefulness that things will mend in others, and that determination not to be beaten which is common to Englishmen I am sorry to say, even when they are wrong;-if it were not for all these causes, men who are carrying on business at this moment six days a-week, would probably, far more rationally, be working only three or four days."
What was true of the spinners and manufacturers of Lancashire, when Mr Bright was thus addressing them last February, applies with much more force to their condition at the present moment. From the most recent trade reports we find that, in spite of the unprofitable state of trade, the average consumption of cotton this year has been 4000 bales per week above that of 1854. Instead of suspending their operations, putting their mills on short time, and thereby restoring the healthy relation between supply and demand in the market, they are all running the same suicidal race against each other, under the delusive gambling spirit, which leads every one to anticipate for himself a probable chance of gain, even if a number of his neighbours should be ruined. In such a race of "laissez-faire and devil take the hindmost," Mr Bright can see nothing to blame. Most of the manufacturers go on out of benevolent, or at least laudable motives. They hope that things will menddon't like to give in so long as their neighbours hold out. What a sad state of things is involved in this description of that great branch of our manufacturing system, of which modern political economists are in the habit of boasting so much! When Mr Bright drew so graphic a picture of the deadly race of competition in which he and his fellow-millowners are engaged, his object was simply to persuade his audience that the sole cause of their present difficulties is the war with Russia. Had he given utterance to all he knows on the subject, he would have told the Chamber of Commerce that the
annihilation of profits in the cottontrade arising from the "fierce competition" of spinners and manufacturers is nothing new. The same lamentable depression has occurred over and over again during the last twenty or thirty years, as he knows full well; and in almost every case it has arisen from the miscalculation of the millowners themselves, and not from the misconduct of Government. If his object had been to give the manufacturers of Manchester sound advice, as to what they ought to do under existing circumstances, he would have cautioned them against errors into which he and they have so frequently fallen, of carrying on their business in a gambling spirit, basing their operations, not on sound calcu lations, but on their supposition of what the respective prices of the raw material and the manufactured article will be some six months or a year afterward. The result of this system is, that a large number of those persons engaged in the cotton trade are liable, at any moment, to be thrown into embarrassment, by a short crop of cotton, or a falling off in the demand for their goods. But wholesome advice was not the article which Mr Bright was prepared to furnish to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce on the occasion to which we refer. He thought the opportunity favourable for manufacturing a little political capital out of the business embarrassments of the members of that body at the expense of the Government, with a view to his own justification for having taken the side of Russia; and it must be confessed that the attempt did more credit to his cleverness than his conscience. His recent lecture to the working men of Marsden was another bid for popular support in the same direction. Under the guise of addressing them on the best mode of improving their minds, he suc ceeded, by a very adroit circumbendibus, in giving a peace lecture, implying condemnation of the public at large, and the most unbounded laudations of Mr Bright's exertions to persuade Parliament to make peace with Russia on her own terms.
To return to the Manchester operatives, who at this inclement season are suffering the sad consequences of
their own ignorance and that of their employers. Among all thoughtful men there can only be one opinion as to what ought to be done in order to prevent such disastrous collisions in future. As regards the present strike, it will no doubt run its course, as so many of a like kind have done during the last halfcentury. The only point worthy of inquiry now, is as to some mode of escape from this constantly-recurring state of civil war between masters and men. Among the various suggestions proffered with a view to that object, one of the most practical is the adoption of the plan devised by the work-people engaged in the carpet trade, which is said to have worked most satisfactorily for the last fifteen years. The following explanation of the working of that plan was given last year by Mr William Henderson, chairman of the Carpet Manufacturers' Association, in a letter published soon after the termination of the Preston strike :
"Previous to 1839 the carpet trade of the north of England had been frequently agitated with strikes times occurring in one firm, sometimes in several firms at the same time. Victory went at one time with the masters, and at another time with the men. Feelings of injury and mistrust prevailed, and in some instances the struggle
became so violent that the masters had to apply to the police for protection of their lives and properties, both by day and night. I have heard the late Mr Howard of Leeds, and other large carpet manufacturers, say that the struggle with their workmen had cost them everything but their lives.
"In 1839 these disputes and the organised combination of all the weavers in the district reached a height which convinced the masters that they would soon be unable either to rule their own establishments or to compete successfully against the carpet manufacturers of Scotland and Kidderminster. They therefore determined to organise a sys tem of defence. The result was a strike which lasted some weeks, but ended in the workmen accepting the terms offered by the masters.
"The masters immediately caused it to be understood that they wished the trade to be ruled by justice to men as well as to masters; and that to effect this, an annual meeting should be held
in some central town, to which the workmen of each manufactory should send a delegate, so that any grievance existing in the trade might be known at once to all the masters and all the men.
"The proceedings are as follow:Sufficient notice is given that the whole of the masters generally attend, annual meeting will take place; the and a delegate is sent by the weavers of each firm. These delegates hold a preliminary meeting, and discuss the views of their constituents, and arrange their scheme of wishes. They then enter the room where the masters are assembled, and often state their case with an eloquence which would do credit to those
of higher position. Numerous questions bearings of the case, whether of wages are asked by the masters, and the real legates then retire, and the subjects are or discipline, are ascertained. The dediscussed and settled by the masters, with a determination to do full justice to their men. The result of this plan is, that for the last fifteen years the delegates have only once retired with dissatisfaction, and upon that occasion they prayed the masters to reconsider their verdict. The masters immediately held another meeting, and arranged the disputed point to the satisfaction of both parties. Since 1839 five strikes have occur red in distant districts. In each of these cases the masters of the north of England succeeded in effecting a settlement; and while they have obtained the friendship of these distant masters, they have repeatedly received the thanks of the
The only obstacle to the adoption of some such plan as this for the prevention of strikes in the cotton trade, is the large infusion of the Irish element in that branch of industry, and the irresistible tendency to conspire which that race appears to have, both at home or abroad. That difficulty, however, may be overcome if the masters will take up the question in earnest. There never was a more favourable moment than the present for promulgating such a scheme.
and Cobden would surely rejoice to The followers of Bright have an opportunity of putting their arbitration principles into practice, and the advocates of war with Russia cannot fail to join any movement which tends to prevent a wasteful civil war, and promote most efficiently the development of our national industry and strength.
THE INNS OF COURT, AND THE BAR OF ENGLAND.
ACCORDING to the Law List for the year 1855, the Bar of England numbers 3800 members. From this body is selected nearly the whole judicial staff of England, from the Lord Chancellor downwards, both at home and abroad, and almost every officer concerned in the direct administration of justice in England-as Recorders, County Court Judges, Stipendiary Police Magistrates, Revising Barristers, and a great number of other quasijudicial temporary or permanent functionaries-as Masters, Commissioners, and so forth. To this body, moreover, are intrusted the lives, liberties, characters, and property of every member of the community, when questioned and endangered; and through their intervention, as advocates, are adjusted disputes referred to the appropriate tribunal at home, from every judicature throughout the widespread dominions of the British Crown. Where, then, and how, is this formidable phalanx educated? -Nay, is it educated at all? By whom? Or does the State answer, with a sort of strange nonchalance "It educates itself, when and as it pleases, and I do not use its services till it is duly educated, as evidenced by the judgment of another body of men, through whose discretion or favouritism those services are bestowed on the public-that is, attorneys and solicitors!" It may occur to our readers that this is really rather an important question to the country at large, or would at all events be considered such by an intelligent foreigner. An Englishman would readily point to the House of Lords, and say, with truth, "See how largely this august assembly has been recruited from the ranks of the Bar-more, indeed, than from all others put together;' and might ask, "How could this have
been, had not each individual recruit exhibited superior, and often most splendid forensic, judicial, and statesmanlike qualifications, unsullied personal character, great acquirements, transcendant endowments, incorruptible integrity and patriotism?" "Ay, ay," it might safely be answered"those were giants, who overcame obstacles insurmountable to any save energies like theirs: but look at the Bar in this present year of grace, 1856, and say-is the state of it encouraging or discouraging, creditable or discreditable to the country? And if the latter, in either case, is there any cause to which it may be referredand is that cause removable? Was it in existence at the periods referred to, and more or less powerful then than now? If individual capabilities continue the same, are facilities and opportunities for developing and displaying them increased or diminished? Survey the Bar that now is, might such a one say - the employed and unemployed; see whether many be pining and perishing in cruelly unjust neglect and obscurity, who have fine intellects consummately trained, richly furnished with general and professional knowledge, and, with but the opportunity, formed to shed lustre on English advocacy, and adorn and dignify the judicial bench! Do you see, in those who are gaining the profes sional prizes, characters such as these, only more fortunate than their unhappy rivals; or men succeeding, as it were, in spite of the want of personal fitness and worth,-mere feeble and flippant mediocrity, only voluble vulgarity,-men insensible of and indifferent to the want of acquirements and accomplishments, to all considerations of personal rectitude, delicacy of feeling, and integrity? Are
REPORT of the Commissioners appointed to Enquire into the Arrangements of the Inns of Court and Inns of Chancery, for promoting the STUDY OF THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE; together with Appendices. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty. 1855.
* This is exclusive of about 24 Advocates at Doctors' Commons, and 107 Certified Conveyancers and Special Pleaders practising in chambers, but entitled to be called to the Bar when they please.
causes in operation which, making allowance for sundry shining exceptions, would degrade the English advocate into the drivelling but eager and unscrupulous legal tradesman-which proclaim that in that field, at least, the race neither is, nor shall be, to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill?* Is the existing state of things, in short, calculated to dismay, or inspirit, a high-minded candidate for admission to the Bar, and competition for its prizes? Would such an one say, Judging from all I see and hear, the thing is hopeless, for I disdain the tricks by which I see so many succeed; and my heart sinks at the sight of high qualifications so often not only useless, but a hindrance to their possessors? Or should such an one take heart of grace, but nerve himself for a desperate and protracted struggle, on being assured by confident and responsible advisers "We are all aware that an industrious and accomplished barrister is, under the present system, sure of ultimate success?" for to this assertion have solemnly and publicly pledged themselves, in print, under their hands and seals, the gentlemen, more or less eminent in their respective stations, recently appointed by the Queen to inquire into, and inform her, on the subject. Such, we repeat, is the cheering, but to many, startling conclusion arrived at by an eminent common law and an eminent equity judge, the Attorney and Solicitor General, distinguished English and Irish Queen's Counsel, the accomplished Clerk of the Parliaments, a retired Indian Judge, an accomplished member of the Bar, and an experienced and able university-bred attorney. Is it, then, true, that, as these gentlemen declare, in England, an industrious and accomplished
Eccles., ix. 11.
barrister is, under the present system, sure of ultimate success?" If so, their business was to consider simply whether the existing system could be so altered as to accelerate the arrival of that "success," by facilitating the entrance into, and removing hindrances to progress in the study of the law; to invite and encourage the worthy, and the competent, but as sternly repel the unworthy and incompetent. Of late years, it has been confidently and repeatedly alleged that the whole condition of legal education in England was at fault; that there was no system for teaching students the principles and practice of a noble profession; no mode of guaranteeing personal fitness; and yet that there existed rich and powerful organisations for such purposes, but which had grossly neglected their duty, and unrighteously squandered on personal advantages and indulgence, those vast resources which had been conferred by the State, solely for the purpose of providing institutions for the maintenance and training of students. During the last session, Mr Napier, the amiable, accomplished, and learned ExAttorney-General of Ireland, in order to put Parliament and the public in possession of the truth of the matter-one, undoubtedly, of great importance and interest moved for and obtained a Commission "to inquire into the arrangements in the Inns of Court for promoting the study of the law and jurisprudence; the revenues properly applicable to, and the means most likely to secure, a systematic and sound education for students of law; and provide satisfactory tests of fitness for admission to the Bar." The moderate-sized Blue Book before us, extending to not more than three hundred pages, contains the result of extensive and well-conducted in
+ Vice Chancellor Wood; Mr Justice Coleridge; Mr Napier, Q.C., late Attorney-General of Ireland; Sir Alexander Cockburn, Attorney-General, and Sir Richard Bethel, Solicitor-General; Sir Thomas E. Perry, late Chief-Justice of Bombay; John George Shaw Lefevre, Esq., C.B.; H. S. Keating, Esq., Q.C., M.P.; Thomas Greenwood, Esq., Barrister-at-Law; and Germain Laivie, Attorney-at-Law. There was an eleventh member of the Commission, James Stewart, Esq., Barristerat-Law; but we fear that it is serious indisposition which has prevented his taking any share in the labours and responsibility of the Commissioners.
Report, &c., p. 17.