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-,--- -----_-----------.___.---PROFESSOR…

[No title]






TO THE EDITOR Of THE PRINCIPALITY. RESPECTED SIR,—Suffer me once more to set before the pub- lic my simple and candid opinion on the above important, but very grievous, subject, in order to show how the truck system of paying operates in antagonism to the increase of all needful and useful knowledge. It must be allowed as evident truth by every one who is in the least acquainted with the wealthy and enterprising iron and coal masters of the counties of Mon- mouth, Glamorgan, and other places, that they are the first and the chiefs in the erection of school-houses, and building of chapels; and several of them have given the ground for building them gratuitously, besides their liberal contributions towards erecting and maintaining the same, whether in connexion with the Episcopalian Church, or the churches of the several de- nominations of Dissenters. We see them readily patronising the Literary and Scientific Institutions of the age. We hear of them giving their money and books often in order to estab- lish reading-rooms for the use of the large numbers of popu- lation that find employment at their works in these counties. They contribute liberally, also, towards the funds of the bible, missionary, tract, and other very useful societies. They have a school at a very convenient place near their works, and these schools in general are numerously attended by the children of the operatives, tradesmen, and others, finding employment in the vicinity of their works, and depending, more or less, upon these works; these schools are also, for the most part, under the care and tuition of efficient and worthy masters and governesses, who take all the possible trouble and pains to instruct their pupils in all the branches of useful eclut-ation for instance, the New British Iron Company erected large schools, about a year ago, at Corngreaves, near their works at fl ales-Owen this school contains 220 children, who are taught in reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, history, geography, and geometry the same company have another such school at their works at Abersychan, The Penytwyne and Golynos Com- pany have erected very commodious school-rooms near their forge, at Pontynewynydd, large enough to contain about 400 children. At Blaenavon, Llanelly, Nantyglo, Blaenan, and Cwmcelyn, Beaufort, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, and Rhymney, and near Blackwood, we find commodious and conveniently- situated school-houses erected chiefly at the expense of the companies, and provided with efficient teachers and books. The Blackwood schools have been erected by the instrumen- tality of that dfcnament of his age, (Sir Thomas Phillips, Kt.\) and all the children of the colliers and others in the vicinity of Blackwood can easily gain admittance. In short all the iron and coal companies have schools at or near their works, throughout all this locality these schools are partly supported by the masters and partly by the workmen,—the masters sub- scribe a certain sum annually for the maintenance of these schools, and about four-pence in the pound is kept back from the workmen on account of the doctor and school funds. Now it is evident that the iron and coal companies of the counties of Monmouth and Glamorgan, have done much in providing education for the children of their workmen and others de- pending directly or indirectly upon their works. Now, Mr. Editor, we have been reading the best side, and a capital good side it is, I would the other side were as good; but we must turn the leaf and peruse the other side as weil. Now we have seen, by what I have already written, that we have sufficient educa- tional means instituted already in the coal and manufacturing districts of both these counties, to educate our children in a great measure, and I would be glad to see them better used by the public at large, as every child could obtain education at these institutions who reside in the vicinities of the iron and coal works but juvenile education is, or at least ought to be, only an introduction to adult studies and learning among the working classes in the manufacturing districts. The school- children will grow to working-men, but as soon as the young man leaves his school in the truck-paying districts and com- mence working, though he promised to himself after he would come to work to get money that he would economise for the noble purposes of buying literary and scientific works, and that he would enter as a member of some mutual improvement society— mechanics' institution and reading-room, and con- tinue the studies (which he Was only merely introduced unto when at school) during his spare hours, yet as soon as he commences his work at the truck-paying factory, or coal and mine work, lie feels the pinches of this very uneasy yoke, and immediately his pre-meditated plan of economising for books, &e. is destroyed, his promises are forgot at once, as he sees that he has no control over his own gettings he knows that he has been led captive to the captivity of this disgraceful system of paying by truck, and under this burden he will very soon forget the most of what he has been learning at school, and his aim and desire for knowledge will become languid and weak, and, at last, annihilated altogether and an irk- some gloom is thrown over the whole of his mental faculties, Maii is born to be free," and when he feels anything inter- vening that freedom which he is authorised to enjoy and exercise within the limits of humanity, he immediately feels himself reduced below humanity and confined in the unnatural fetters of bondage, captivity, and slavery and his mind is sunk at once from the vigour which it had into a state of languid- ness and carelessness. When man feels himself under any yoke of tyranny, and reduced thereby below the standard or- (idiied for him by wise Providence," the mind becomes care- less of any mental-improvements progression in literary and scientific knowledge, and the means by which he may improve his mind are entirely disregarded. These are but few of the evil operations of the truck system among the large population of-the iron and coal districts. There are prodigious numbers of Welsh periodicals issued forth from the presses of Cardiff, Llanelly, Carmarthen, Dolgelly, and other places every mouth an amazing number of English literary and scientific magazines, printed regularly every month in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, and other places, at very moderate prices news- papers and scientific books can be purchased very cheap but for all this, the people of the works where the truck system is exercised, have no control over their gettings. The earnings of the working classes are very illegally monopolised by the truck-paying iron and coal companies, and the free circulation of money is interrupted and fettered by this injurious system, and the very unfair imposition of the extortionate.prices of the goods sold at the truck companies' shops, with the bad quali- ties of the provisions, which at times are dear enough for carrying them home. These circumstances operate very strongly in opposition to the increase of knowledge in general, disable the working classes to have for themselves the mediums of knowledge, and destroy all literary- tastes and scientific pursuits in the trucking iron andcoal-works. The truck system is also a very strong opposition to the increase of religious knowledge, though I know a certain company in Monmouth- shire that have been in the habit of giving sum,- of money annually to purchase books and other requisites for Sundayschool purposes at the several dissenting chapels in the neighbourhood of their works but it appears quite absurd that the same company should set such restraints on the earnings of their workmen as the truck system, which disables them (though willing) to contribute for the purpose of buying books, &c., to form an efficient Sabbath-school library in con- nection with every school in the district which would prove very effective means in creating, renewing, and increasing a spirit of reading and studying, &c., among the working popu- lation. Literary taste and scientific pursuits would be promul- gated thereby very considerably; but the working classes (so desirable as it is) will never be able to do this as long as the imposition of trucking shall exist among them. The truck system is very injurious to the maintenance of the ministry among the dissenters also. Now, Mr. Editor, it is evident that the working classes like others are compelled to contribute, in a direct or indirect manner, towards the support of the State Church," and this they must do as long as the present alliance shall exist between the Church and State. But the dissenters have a religious cause of their own, which they feel (from principle) bound to support. The working people of the manufacturing districts are for the most part of them dissenters they pay the salary of their ministers once in each four weeks; but the truck system of payment, just like a sliding scale," can put the pay off for thirteen weeks, and when the pay, or, more properly called, a mere settlement" comes, about three-fourths of the workmen will be in debt to the truck-paying company and no wonder too, for they charge about four shillings in the pound more than other shopkeepers in the same neighbourhood for their goods. Now, as the pulpit and the press require support once in every month, the pay of the men should be in the coin of the realm once at least in every month, and a draw in coin every week. Now it is clear that the truck system of paying operates strongly against the two most powerful machineries" of the age, to increase and promulgate every needful and useful knowledge, and particularly so in connexion with religion this most abominable obstruction in the way of lmowledcre- this most'notorious robbing system, which deprives the work- ing classes of their rights and privileges, which destroys every family comfort, which killeth the spirit of reading and study- ing, interrupts the cultivation of the mental faculties, brings in poverty, ignorance, and misery, stops the circulation of money, fetters trade, and very frequently causes insolvency and bankruptcy, even in connexion with the trucksters them- selves such is the imprudence and extravagance in the method of paying at truck shops instead of the coin of the realm that many of the favourites have been suffered to run in the debt of the shops to the enormous amounts of E20, E30, or E50, over their earnings, and others are robbed by extortionate prices to make these sums up; and have produced bankruptcy and insolvency as a consequence many times then the working classes loose their work. I say, let this accursed obstruction be removed, with je vous rend mille graces. I beg to remain your unworthy servant, A WELSH COLLIER. Anti-truck Vale, July 23, 1850.



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