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as neither party can either boast of
Lords, and others of our Privy Councill, in our kingdome of Scotland,
such a proportion of a compensation is allotted to the labour of a particular class of individuals, is most entitled to the praise and respect of mankind. By it, men are linked in the closest bonds of union; and by it, a new force is given to the calls of humanity Add to these the concentration of the mind, on a particular object, affords a more certain and speedy knowledge of that object in all its relations; and the prospect thus circumscribed, and that dissipation of thought avoided, which variety always creates ; a mee secure path of discovery is held out, and new advances are daily made in the perfection of art. Now, it is evident that this economy of labour, to highly beneficial to society, originate in the necessities of those who copose it, and in a conviction that the insulated labour of a single individu is insufficient for the supply of wants, varied in their nature, and requiring such opposite kinds of dexterity. is evident also, that the most m form in which this beautiful order could be recognized, would be the vision of mankind into two great d ses, the master and the servant: the one was willing to resign a part of h uncontrouled liberty, in order to cure the remainder, and attain t means of subsistence; while the ethe accounted his services sufficient title him to his protection and s ty. It cannot be affirmed that th compromise could arise from a guine anticipation of advantages which might eventually flow from the in or from any consideration of that ben tiful fabric which the improving genuity of mankind might graduly rear. The immediate cause of the coalescence, was a quick felt se interest; and the same energetic pr ciple still continues to bring round those conjunctions and subsequenté visions on which the happiness prosperity of mankind depend.
It is evident, therefore, that th coalition is the result of a balance f interest; and from their union,
STRICTURES on COMBINATIONS,
HE relation which subsists be
THE twixt master and servant is of the most intimate kind, and, like all other relations which originate in mutual dependence, it maintained and promoted by a reciprocity of good of fices. On a first aspect, it may seem, that their interests are opposite; that the aggrandizement of the one party necessarily accomplishes the depression of the other; but on a more enlarged view of the subject, it will be seen, that this apparent collison is compatible with an identity of interests; and that this seeming hostility of views is nothing more than the operation of that salutary principle by which their jarring claims are adjusted, and by which the one is hindered from materially encroaching on the rights of the other.
Of all the arrangements of modern society, that by which a determinate share in the supply of the community
naturally led to this conclusion, that the situation of each party is bettered. But though it may be evident that this union originates in the wants of the parties, and is promoted by the enjoyment of reciprocal advantages; it is equally obvious, that the benefits thus mutually dispensed, exactly neutralize each other, and leave nothing to be claimed on either side on the score of gratitude. The competition which, at the first, assorted the emoluments of both parties, and allotted to each their respective share, still continues, in every subsequent change, to mete out, with an impartial hand, every new increase of wealth, which a fortunate hazard in speculation, or a favourable concurrence of circumstances, may bring round. Indeed, their interests are so completely identified, they are so mutually dependent, that no change can effect the one without being speedily communicated to the other. Under certain circumstances, it is true, the advantages accruing from this concentration of labour may be diverted, in too great a proportion, to one of the classes; and a period may be fixed on in the history of every country, when it may, with some plausibility, be affirmed, that the price allowed for the labour of the servant was not proportionable to the profits his employer reaped from his service. It is impossible, however, that this state of things can long remain. In the feudal system, (which was but a slight remove from tyranny,) the aris. tocracy held their vassals bound to perform every species of drudgery, without allowing them more than bare subsistence and security, This, however, is sufficiently accounted for by the peculiar state of society, and can by no means happen when men are left to dispose of themselves as their interests or inclinations may lead them. Interest clashing with interest, and one claim reducing another, finally begets an equation. But perhaps the disadvantages of this extreme case are
more seeming than real. When we consider that, as yet, there were no laws to restrain the violence of the oppressor, and that the necessaries of life were precarious and scanty, we may, perhaps, be led to put a higher value on that protection which secured these inestimable blessings, and may reasonably suspect, that it was cheaply enough purchased by all that the confined industry and talents of these times could effect.
In all free states, the exact proportion of emolument to which each party is entitled is meted out in so just and equable a manner, that there is no need of coercive measures on either side to attain a due share of the profit; and the appeals which have been occasionally made to force, to settle their contending pretensions, leave it beyond a doubt, that such violent proceedings are detrimental to both, while they are beneficial to neither. When the profits of the employer are enhanced by any favourable change of circumstances, the advance will speedily be communicated to the subordinate workmen. A favourable return for capital is necessarily connected with an enlarged demand for the commodity in which it is invested; and this large demand draws into its service a new supply of money, and gives new grounds for competition among capitalists: every trader, anxious to gain by this increased consumption for his article, engages as many workmen as his circumstances will allow; and, for their encouragement, holds out an advance of wages. This advance is, no doubt, the smal lest possible, but such as it is, it has the effect of alluring hands from the employ of his fellow-manufacturers ; who, in order to recover or replace them, must make a second advance. The competition thus begun, is carried through a rapid succession of advances, till the price of labour has reached that degree at which the profits of stock had so lately arrived.
is not, however, meant that the whole of this rise is made over to the servant. The principle by which their rights were at first determined still continues to operate in every change, and metes out the increase in the same ratio in which their mutual gains had borne to each other. On the other hand, when the profits in any particular line of commercial adventure are lowered by untoward circumstances, to the smallest rate at which it is possible to trade, this reduction will speedily be felt through the complicated body, from the highest to the lowest, engaged in the manufacture or circulation of the commodity. The competition will now be among the workmen. The redundant capital will be withdrawn; and all those who were supported by its returns will consequently be thrown off. Thus destitute, their exertions will be tendered to employers at a reduced rate, and will thus accomplish a diminution in the wages paid to all labourers of the same class.
er himself must forfeit the fruits of b nest industry. This is so obvious a consideration, and so readily forces itself into notice, when a combination is proposed, that, aware of its importance, schemes have been fallen on to avert its consequences. Accordingly we find that, in several professions, the members in the adjacent districts are so closely connected, that any stoppage in the wages of those who com bine is not immediately felt, but is made up by the contributions of those who, though not agents in the combination, are nevertheless interested in its issue. This, however, does not inpair the real loss; it merely graduates it; and in mitigating the primary shock, it imposes a burden which is felt through a long series of years. It is evident, that such exertions do not altogether proceed from disinterested motives; and a similar want among those by whom they were granted, will immediately command back all the sums formerly bestowed.
All this, however, might be bore; privations and hardships of a higher kind might even be endured, were a probable prospect of success held out to encourage them under such pressing inconveniencies. It seems, however, infallibly to happen, that all attempt to obstruct the natural movements of society recoil with impetuosity upe the deluded agent; and, after the subsidence of that anarchy which he h created, he finds others quietly invet ed in the possession of those blessing which he formerly enjoyed. Such, fact, seems to be the ultimate effects of all those partial combinations which, embracing only a small number of in dividuals, leave their places a p leged capture to their more pruder: neighbours; and their interest, c curring with that of masters, and the general advantage of the country, conspire to fill up the vacant situaties And, as it may be expected, small deficiency in the supply of hands will be occasioned by the combin
Those who have combined in order
to effect such alterations in the natural order of society, as might promote their own views, have acted in direct contradiction to those maxims which we have been endeavouring to lay down; and though their interests are apparently furthered, yet, on extending our views beyond the immediate consequences of such combinations, we will immediately find, that they inyolve results diametrically opposite; that the advantage gained is merely temporary, while it paves the way for another change, by which the natural emoluments are as much pressed below their just level, as they were forcibly raised above it.
When such combinations take place among servants, their employers, enraged at the unreasonable demand, do not readily assent to its gratification. In the interval, much time is lost; and, not to mention the inconvenience which the public must feel in having its usual supply curtailed, the labour
tion, so it may be supposed that this deficiency will operate some trifling rise in the price of work; and if this rise be more than the employers can conveniently afford, it will also be some trifle above the average value of labour; so that this profession will hold out more encouragement than any other of equal difficulty in attainment, and will therefore, in the end, come to be more fully supplied.
But, supposing the combination to be so general as to extend over the whole country in which it originates, it must still be evident, that the difference of this from the former is not in kind, but only in degree; and it will follow, as a natural inference, that having foreign competitors in trade, even this large coalition carries in its bosom the seeds of its own discomfiture. If, by its influence, the price of any of those commodities in which we had formerly undersold the traders of other countries, should be raised above that of our rivals, it is indisputable, that the continental market, in which our goods formerly commanded an immediate purchase, will be supplied at a cheaper rate; and even, so far as our own laws respecting trade will admit, foreign articles will find their way into this country.
In calculating on the issue of a combination, all consideration of those impediments which arise from the jealousy which attaches to an extended commerce, appear to be laid out of sight; and those who combine, proceed on the absurd supposition, that in every capricious or interested rise in the price of a commodity, they will be voluntarily followed by those whose efforts have always been directed to supplant them. Granting, however, that a combination may be so general, and altogether so constructed, as not to be subject to any of the corrective
cheques which we hat enumerated,
it may still be enquired, whether, in this case, it can produce all those beneficial effects which have been so
fondly anticipated? If the object be some of those superfluous articles which minister to human luxury, it may be pretty safely predicted, that the demand for it will be considerably lessened; and although the sum given for an assigned quantity may be greater than formerly, yet, as the consumpt will be smaller, the total profits will likewise be diminished. Again, should the article be a necessary of life, any combination, by which the rate of it is endeavoured to be raised, must soon prove ineffective: not, indeed, from any diminution in the demand, (for that must continue nearly the same) but from the operation of that stretching principle, which the combination engenders; and from that alteration which it introduces in the relative value of those articles, each of which contribute a part to the sun of human happiness. The necessaries of life are the measure of its accessory commodities; and their proportional value having been settled, any rise in the former accomplishes a corresponding rise in the latter. Carry this a little further-the more necessary affects the more luxurious, till the particular augmentation is lost in the general rise; and till it amounts to nothing more, than an unsubstantial and frivolous alteration in the denomination of value.
A Journey through the HIGHLANDS and WESTERN ISLES, in the Sunmer of 1804.--In a Series of Letters to a Friend.
BY THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.
S it is probable I would mention the house of Bellanach in my former letters, and the improvements carried on there under the auspices of the
the generous Mr Malcolm, I shall not run the risk of repetition, but proceed with our voyages. I had, while tarrying here, by my rashness, received a grievous wound in the face, which I was obliged to keep bound up with a napkin, and which occasioned my having something of a hideous appearance. Wherever I showed my face the people were impressed with high ideas of my prowess in the art of boxing, which I never in my life tried; and I thought it would have been more natural had they concluded that some body had been boxing me. We set sail on the morning of Tuesday with a fine southern breeze, which carried us out of Loch Crinan. About a mile off the point of Craignish we witnessed a very singular phenomenon. A phenomenon, James! little things are such to you when on a journey: pray what was it? Your honour will not guess; not if you should do nothing else but try for a year. It was, however, what I never before saw or heard of;-being a boat well manned, fishing up cows in the open sea. Aye, look back at the word again; it is just Cows. But I am to this day unable to account for it in the least, or how such a valuable fishery came to be there; but it was literally as follows: On reaching the sound of Jura, we steered to the northward; where the wind beginning to sink, and the tide meeting us like a mighty river, we advanced very slow. To the westward about half a mile, we first saw a large wherry crouding sail to the South, and then, a good way a head of her, a black thing came on with the tide, which we soon discovered, with the help of the spyglass, to be an excellent black highland cow. We approached quite near them, and saw them overtake her, when they immediately dropped their sail and threw coils of ropes around her, endeavouring with all their might to haul her into the boat: this however they were unable to effect, for she
splashed like a whale; and the boat was like to turn its keel uppermost; but they lashed her to the stem. Just about this time, when the noise Gaelic in the boat began to abate, in a moment a dun cow emerged from below the waves about forty yards to the N.W. of us. She was grown very weak, was swimming with her side uppermost, and blowing like a pr poise; but the tide bare her rapidly away from us, and very near straight for them. I cannot describe to you the noise and hurry which ensued in the boat on the appearance of this second prize: some hauled up the sails, others hung strenuously by that which they had got, being unwilling to lose a certainty for a chance. They at last with some difficulty suc ceeded in securing that also, whe they made slowly toward the laud We were lost in conjecture from whence these cows could have cont, there being no other vessel or bot within sight from which they could have made their escape; and could think of nothing more probable, tha that they were cattle which ha lately been brought from Jura, al were attempting to swim across the sound to their native isle again, a Es tance I suppose not exceeding eight 'miles; but you now know as much! do. After this we continued fr some time to hold slowly on ou course, but were soon overtaken bya dead calm, when the furious tide ried us straight away to the south. We were now in no very agrees situation, being surrounded to th southward by numbers of rocky is without any means in our powerofe chewing them, and were greatly larmed at seeing ourselves borne upon a large one in the mouth of Loch Crinan! the sailors plied with the oars to force the vessel from its longitude, but their efforts for a long time proved abortive, I, for my qua part, had no apprehensions of bag wrecked on that rock, and strove with