Saturday, 20 December 2014

20th December 1814: Lancashire Calico Masters call for the disbanding of the Journeymen's Union

Dog-Tavern, Manchester, 20th Dec. 1814.


AN ADDRESS from the MASTER CALICO PRINTERS in Lancashire and the Counties adjacent, approved of at a General Meeting held here this day.

THE Masters sincerely regret, that the conciliatory sentiments which they earnestly submitted to the Journeymen, by the printed Resolutions of the 22d March last, were not embraced; and, that the recent proceedings of the latter evince a determination to carry their unnatural system of controul to every possible extent.

If the blind selfishness of this spirit were not checked, the ruin of those who act upon it, as well as of their employers, must be the certain result — The trade itself would be forced into those countries where combinations do not exist, and where it will be left to the natural and genial influence of freedom.

It is notorious, that foreign competition is daily gaining ground; and if the English Printers remain inactive, or are not permitted the free exercise of their own discretion, they and the articifers they employ, with their numerous families, depending upon this branch of business, will inevitably become martyrs to the unlawful and extravagant claims and restrictions of the Journeyman, whilst others are enjoying the fruits of that ingenuity, and of those exertions, to which the establishment and improvement of the trade are so essentially indebted.

Under the increased and increasing pressure of these evils, the Masters were impelled to associate. They know that the interests of themselves and their servants are completely identified. They seek no reduction in the established rate of wages, and they are perfectly disposed to give employment to such of the Journeymen as are desirous of conducting themselves faithfully, and of submitting to the conditions which are indispensable to the well-being and prosperity of all trade. If any individuals yet obstinately refuse, their object will be decided, and they must sustain the consequence. The services of such men cannot be of any value, and they will not afterwards be accepted.

The CONDITIONS alluded to are these, viz.

They are to withdraw themselves entirely from all combinations to controul or restrict their employers, and engage not to be concerned in them for the future. They are to do all such work as may be offered to them in their several capacities, without attempting to interfere as to the kind or number of hands employed, or the machines used; they are to conform to the rules prescribed for the preservation of order and regularity in the works of their masters. They are to be subject to abatements for spoiled or imperfect work, not exceeding in any case the wages paid for the work done upon goods so damaged, except only in evident instances of malicious or wanton injury. And they are also, before they can be received, to sign a declaration in the form subjoined:
"I, A.B. do hereby declare, that I do not, nor will hereafter, belong to any combination, which has for its object the controul or restriction, in any way whatever, of my employers, in the free exercise or management of their business, nor will I, individually, attempt any such controul or restriction, but will, to the best of my ability, do such work as may be offered to me, in my capacity of <blank> during my service with <blank> and in all other respects conduct myself faithfully therein."

This appeared as an advert in the Lancaster Gazette of 31st December 1814. The Dog Tavern was on Deansgate.

No comments:

Post a Comment