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AN NERCHIADAU AR GYHOEDDIAD…

HEKTHYE POLICE COIt'^T.

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A TRUCK LESSON.

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A TRUCK LESSON. BY THE RIGHT HON. BENJAMIN D'LSBAELI, (Late Chancellor of the Exchequer ) The fact is, we are tommied to death." You never spoke a truer word, Master Nixon," said one of his companions. It's gospel, every word-of it, said another. "And the point is," continued Master Nixon, what are we for to do ?" Ay, surely," said a collier, that's the mar- row." J Ay, ay," agreed several; there it is." The question is," said Nixon, looking round with a magisterial air, "what is wages? I say, 'tayn't sugar, 'tayn't tea, 'tayn't bacon. I don't think it's candles; but of this I be sure, 'tayn't waistcoats." Here there was a general groan. Comrades," continued Nixon, "you know what has happened you know as how Juggins applied for his balance after his tommy-book was paid up, and that incarnate nigger Diggs has made him take two waistcoats. Now the question rises, what is a collier to do with waistcoats? Pawn 'em I s'pose to Diggs' son-in-law, next door to his father's shop, and sell the ticket for sixpence. Now, there's the question; keep to the question; the question is waistcoat and tommy first waistcoats, and then tommy." "I have been making a pound a. week these two months past," said another, but, as I'm a sinner saved, I have never seen the young Queen's picture yet." And I have been obliged to pay the doctor for my poor wife in tommy," said another. Doctor,' I said, says, I, 'I blush to do it, but all I have got is tommy, and what shall it be, bacon or cheese ?' 'Cheese at tenpence a pound,' says he, which I buy for my servants at six- pence Never mind,' says he, for he is a thorough Christian, I'll take the tommy as I find it. "Juggins has got his rent to pay, and is afraid of the bums," said Nixon; and he has got two waistcoats!" Besides," said another, "Diggs' tommy is only open once a week, and if you're not there in time, you go over for another seven days. And it's such a distance, and he keeps a body there such a time-it&s always a day's work for my poor woman she can't do nothing after it, what with the waiting, and the standing, and the cussing of Master Joseph Diggs,-for he do swear at the women, when they rush in for the first turn, most fearful." They do say he's a shocking little dog." Master Joseph is wery wiolent, but there is no one like old Diggs for grabbing a bit of one's wages. He do so love it! And then he says you never need be at no loss for nothing; you can find everything under my roof. I should like to know who is to mend our shoes. Has Gaffer Diggs a cobbler's stall P" Or sell us a penn'orth of potatoes," said another. Or a ha'porth of milk." No; and so to get them one is obliged to go and sell some tommy, and much one gets for it. Bacon at ninepence a-pound at Diggs', which you may get at a huckster's for sixpence and there- fore the huckster can't be expected to give you more than fourpence-halfpenny, by which token the tommy in our field just cuts our wages atween the navel." And that's as true as if you heard it in church, Master Waghorn." This Diggs seems to be an oppressor of the people," said a voice from a distant corner of the room. Master Nixon looked around, smoked, puffed, and then said, I should think he wor; as bloody-a-hearted butty* as ever jingled." "But what business has a butty to keep a shop ?" inquired the stranger. The law touches him." I should like to know who would touch the law," said Nixon; "not I for one. Them tom- my shops is very delicate things; they won't stand no handling, I can tell you that." But he cannot force you to take goods," said the stranger he must pay you in current coin of the realm, if you demand it." They only pay us once in five weeks," said a collier; and how is a man to live meanwhile. And suppose we were to make shift for a month or live weeks, and have all our money coming, and have no tommy out of the shop, what would the butty say to me? He would say, 'Do you want e're a note this time,' and if I was to say No,' then he would say, 'You've no call to go down to work any more here.' And that's what I call forsation." Ay, ay," said another collier; "ask for the young Queen's picture, and you would soon have to put your shirt on, and go up the shaft." It's them long reckonings that force us to the tommy-shops," said another collier; and if a butty turns you away because you won't take no tommy, you're a marked man in every field about." There's wuss things as tommy," said a collier who had hitherto been silent, and that's these here butties. What's going on in the pit is linown only to God Almighty and the colliers. I have been a consistent methodist for many year,, scrived to do well, and all the harm I have ever done to the butties was to tell them that their deeds would not stand on the day of judg- ment," They are deeds of darkness surely; for many's the morn we work for nothing, by one excuse or another, and many's the good stint that they undermeasuro. And many's the cup of their aie that you must drink before they will pive you any work. If the Queen would do something for us poor men, it would be a blessed job." "There ayn't no black tyrant on this earth like a butty, surely," said a collier and there's no redress for poor men." "But why do not you state your grievances to the landlords and lessees," said the stranger. I take it you be a stranger in these parts, sir," said Master Nixon, following up this remark by an enormous pulf. He was the oracle of his circle, and there was silence whenever he was inclined to address them, which was not too oh en, though when, he spoke, his words, as his followers often-observed, were a regular ten-yard coal. I take it you be a stranger in these parts, sir, or else you would know that it's as easy for a miner to speak to a main.master, as it is for me to pick coal with this here clay. Sir, there's a gulf atween 'em. I went into the pit when I ■was five year old, and I count forty year m the service come Martinmas, and a very good age, sir, for a man that does his work, and I knows what I'm speaking al out. In forty years, sir, a man sees a pretty deal, 'specially when he don't move out of the same spot and keeps his 'tention. I've been at p)ay/ sir, several times in forty year, and have seen as great stick-outs as ever happened in this country. I've seen the people' at play' for weeks together, and so clammed that I never tasted nothing but a potato and a little salt for more than a fortnight: Talk of tommy, that was hard fare, but we were holding out for our rights, and that's sauce for any gander. And I'll tell you what, sir, that I never knew the people 'play' yet, but if a word had passed atween them and the roain-masters aforehand, it might not have been settled; but you can't get at them any way. Atween the poor man and the gentleman there never was no connection, and that's the wital mischief of this country." "It's a very true word, Master Nixon, and by this token that when we 'went to play'in '28, and the masters said they would meet us what did they do but walk about i;he ground and speak to j the butties. The butties has their car." "We never want no soldiers here if the masters would speak? with the men but the sight of a pitman is poison to a gentleman, and if we go up to speak with''em, they always run away." It's the butties," said Nixon; they are wuSRer nor tommy." "The people will never have their rights," said the stranger, "until they learn their power _no •. in the mining districts is a middlemau or agent: a ) is hi" nianagov. The- Rnttv gejwi-ally keejw a 'Vou»my or Ttadt ",Ii'fl, awl. <'(.' < J liis labourers in goo.ly. Si i.ou mincis, and coUieig •jtiikf,j they term it "swag to eiyy." j Suppose, instead of sticking out and playing fifty of your families were to live under one roof. You would live better than you live now; you would feed more fully, and be lodged and clothed more comfortably, and you might save half the amount of your wages; you would become capitalists; you might yourselves hire your mines and pits from the owners, and pay them a better rent than they now obtain, and yet your- selves gain more and work less." Sir," said Mr. Nixon, taking his pipe from his mouth, and sending forth a volume of smoke, "you speak like a book." "It is the principle of association," said the stranger; the want of the age." Sir," said Mr. Nixon, this here age wants a great deal, but what it principally wants is to have its wages paid in the current coin of the realm." + EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE. The Editor does not hold himself responsible for the sentiments expressed by his correspondents. THE JUVENILE RIFLE CORPS. To the Editor qf the Merthyr Telegraph. SIR,-I thank "A Friend of the Juveniles" for his gentlemanly letter, and wish this little dis- pute of ours could, so far as he is concerned, be taken as the model for imitation by all who select a newspaper as the medium for the expression of opinions. But I am unchanged in my views. I agree with him in the remark that we should not undervalues any and every means for strengthening^ne influence of home teaching, but I am« persuaded that the influence of a juve- nile corps will be in a great measure to counter- act home teaching. We shall see little mani- kins instead of boys, the majority of whom will grow up with fast notions and habits. They will, I in time, think a latch-key, a cigar, and the ability to drink a glass of beer, things to be striven for, not because the latch-key is associated with late hours and free and easy company, or the cigar and beer for the simple excitement they yield, but because they will deem them manly essentials, the characteristics of manhood in fact. This training, innocent as it may appear to many, is in reality hot-house forcing, and will give them mannish views out of keeping with their age. I have no doubt my opponent, like myself, would prefer seeing the boy rise gradually than leap suddenly in mental, moral, or social growth; rather see our good old rhyme and story books remain the mental food for a due season, than see them discarded for rifle books, naval and military guides. The ot^her day I passed three small lads walking briskly, and from a few chance words overheard, the subject of conversation to be, not Tom Brown, or sports and pastimes, but our English colonies, and the superior power we possed in retaining them by our greater naval resources! Another result of the corps will be to lessen the influence of parental authority. Young soldiers will think it childish to remain tied to the mother's apron, will feel it irksome to endure the father's will in matters that to the sire may be natural, but to the son undignified. My friend and opponent admits the universal love for playing atsoldiers, but contends that it is the music, the uniform, &c., that attracts, not the idea of killing men. Not so; it may be to the ladies, but when I was a boy we had pre- carious notions of doing daring things, of becom- ing soldiers, and winning names on flood or field in defence of ladye fair, or king and crown, not rocing content with the gay colours and the pleasant sounds. Once for all, in my humble opinion, the good of the corps is more than counterbalanced by the evil produced. Yours &c.. AN OBSERVER. WORKING BOYS. To the Editor of the Merthyr Telegraph. SLE,—I am glad to see public attention directed so closely to the bill now passing, or just passed in the H.)use of Commons, and known as the Mines Inspection Bill. Amongst the clauses which were excluded when the bill was in com-, mittee, one appeared to me deserving of better treatment than it received. I for one cannot conceive why there should be a distinction be- tween one class of workmen and another in the matter of the duration of labour for youth..The evil effects of severe labour on boys is so per- ceptible, it underlies, so to state, the whole stratum of our condition, so markedly, that a graver question eould not be discussed. What becomes of overtasked boys ? The mass die, a great proportion of those who live grow up en feebled, and hand down in sickly children the outrage committed on nature and the crime com- mitted against man. We talk of educating the children of working men, of giving them certificates for good conduct and attending to their studies—we try to win them to become members of a religious denomi- nation. weaning them from love of beer and sensuality, but is this not simply lopping the faded branches, removing the blighted leaves, and NEGLECTING the while a curse preying at the root and slowly, but surely bringing the human fabric to an untimely end. It is useless to contend that .the affection of parents is sufficient to restrain them from over- tasking their children. They may love their sons, but their own wages are barely adequate for the family support, and too often the drink- ing propensities of the man throws the great burden of maintaining mother and sisters on one or more boys. A poor woman met a gossip in our presence, and was comparing family in- cidents with her friend. Amongst other matters the friend said, "How do John keep himself now?" "bad enough," was the reply, "he has been drinking all the week, and every week he loses more turns than be works." "Well, well," added her friend, and how in the world do you manage P" "Why," was the rejoinder, "my eldest boy earns 7s. a week, and is a steady boy. God knows what we'd do if 'twasn't for him." And this is a little photograph that may repre- sent many a Merthyr home. Young shoulders are made to bear heavier burdens than their physical power will admit of, and no wonder in such a case, that so many sink ere manhood has been reached and without a share of that enjoy- ment for which man was created. Hence, the necessity for a power higher than human affection to restrain parents from over- tasking their offsprings, and masters from de- manding more labour at the hands of youth than is capable with the health, strength, and enjoy- ment of youth. And unless Members of Parlia- ment see the necessity for making such a law, I for one can foresee great and irremedial mischief produced. Better, far better, for a mass of youth who abound in coal pits and mines, and drudge on a life made wretched by disease, that the light of life had. been to them as hidden as the gleam of happiness is now. Yours truly, Vox POPULI.

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