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---.-. MR. T. BKASSEY. MP,…

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MR. T. BKASSEY. MP, OS ENGLISH 1 A!*f>FORE[(iW LABOUR. Mr. T. 3 rissey, Vt P., delivered a lecture ia Hawk- atom ff ilt, Westniiscer-ro^d, Oa the Comparative Etfl-iuiaej of RigHsh and Foreign Labour. The Rev. Newman Sail presided. Mr. Brassey, who was very heartily received, said it was asserted that the English workman had become relatively more idle and leas skilled, and that the cost of production had become so great that our goods are being dis- placed by the exportations of rival manufacturers abroad. These complaints, however, were heard in every great seat of manufacture abroad. Thero bad been a decline in the markets for the chief commodities of our export trade, which was steady, continuous, and serious. The price of pig iron had fallen bomlSOIt. a ton in 1874 to 51s. 6d. at the close of December, 1877. In coal, tin, and copper there had likewise been a great fall. But we were not alone in our miafortun6Sr The iron trade was also in a state or depreation-in France and Belgium, and in Germany if Was stated to be one of the most prostrate i-idtotries of the Empire. It was said that the falling of in the iron trade in England had been caused by t le inflation of prices, and that that inflition was chiefly due to the- rie^ in wages. But if we had suffered front this, the same difficulty bad presented itself on the Continent. Mr. Brassey then referred to the manufacture of textile fabrics. In England he said the number of spindles at the end of 1874 was 39,000,000, whereas in Germany they were only 5,000,000, in Austria 1,500,000, in Switzerland 2,900,800, and in France 5,000,000. Then the wages in England, he showed, were higher than in Saxony. Taking a factory of 64,000 spindles in England, as against one of a similar size in Saxony, the average earnings of the Saxon operatives are not more than 11s. 10d. per week, while their English fellows, in- cluding men, women, and children, earned 163. lOd. each, and this though the English factory-hand works many hours lea in the week than the German. But the German employer labours under this great disad- vantage, that while the English establishment lis worked with 3'1 empltyit to every 1000 spindles, the German requires 5 99 to every .1000 spindles, or nearly twice as many. But wWle he had endeavoured to remove needless apprehensions for our industrial future, he was far from saying that no errors had been committed by masters and men. There were many delusions which the sharp lessons of adversity might tend to dissipate. In this point of view nothing could be more instructive :han an examination of the state of the labour market in the United States. The increase of personal extravagance which pre- vailed in America a few years ago was caused by the Legal Tender Act, which doubled the price of every- thing. Since 1873, however, the American people had been adapting themselves to the altered situation. Iacome, wages, and expenses were being scaled down, profits were reduced, and the American labourer had to make up his mind that lie will not be much better off than the European labourer. Wages had fallen some 33 per cent., and yet American manufacturers had competed successfully with other countries in the supply of arJIM and in other branches of mechanical industry. We had been conquered by the mechanical skill of the employer in devising labour-saving machinery, and by the industry and energy of the workmen, who, if they have earned high, wages, have worked longer and more industriously than many among our own mechanics have been disposed to do. He was not afraid of high wages* but he had a fear lest the foundation of our industrial prosperity should be undermined by restraints on the characteristic e iergy of our people. If eur workmen allowed them- selves to be deluded with. the notion that by working at half speed they will prevent over pro- duction, British industry cannot contend successfully against the free and vigoroas efforts of our lrinllmen in America. The only result of such a suicidal-course must, be th t the people who impose no artificial res- trictions on their powers will take oar place in every op-n market. (Ohfers.) At the conclusion of the lt>ctur« Mr. Stiunel Hill moved a veto of thanks to Mr. Brassey, which was carried with acclamation.

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