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Hiring by Time and Piece-work. Advantages of the latter.
Inexpediency of making Wages depend on the results of
Law for repressing Combinations among Workmen repealed in
1824. Impolicy of that Law. Its real effect. Voluntary
Combinations ought not to be forcibly suppressed. Such
Combinations often injurious to Workmen. Necessity of
preventing one set of Workmen from obstructing others in
Interest of the Labourers promoted, and their Condition im-
proved, by increased facilities of Production and Exchange.
Circumstances which have conspired to prevent the Inven-
tions and Discoveries of the last half-century from effecting
a greater change for the better in the Condition of the
BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS WORK.
In addition to this Treatise, Mr. McCULLOCH has published the following Works, viz.
1. A DICTIONARY, PRACTICAL, THEORETICAL, AND HISTORICAL, OF COMMERCE AND COMMERCIAL NAVIGATION. A new and improved Edition, in one very thick volume 8vo. Illustrated with Maps and Plans. London, 1854.
2. A DICTIONARY, GEOGRAPHICAL, STATISTICAL, AND HISTORICAL, of the various Countries, Places, and principal Natural Objects, in the World. A new and much improved Edition. 2 thick vols. 8vo. Illustrated with Maps. London,
3. A DESCRIPTIVE AND STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE, exhibiting its Extent, Physical Capacities, Population, Industry, and Civil and Religious Institutions. Fourth Edition. 2 thick vols. 8vo. London, 1854.
4. SMITH'S WEALTH OF NATIONS; with a Life of the Author, Notes, and Supplemental Dissertations. New Edition. 1 vol. 8vo, double columns. London, 1850.
5. THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY; with some Inquiries respecting their Application, and a Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Science. Fourth and amended Edition.
1 vol. 8vo. Edinburgh, 1849.
6. A TREATISE ON THE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICAL INFLUENCE OF TAXATION AND THE FUNDING SYSTEM. The Second Edition, enlarged and improved. 1 vol. 8vo. London, 1852.
7. THE LITERATURE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY: a Classified Catalogue of Select Publications in the different Departments of that Science, with Historical, Critical, and Biographical Notices. 1 vol. 8vo. London, 1845.
8. A TREATISE ON THE SUCCESSION OF PROPERTY VACANT BY DEATH; including Inquiries into the Influence of Primogeniture, Entail, Compulsory Partitions, Foundations, &c., over the Public Interest. 1 vol. 8vo. London, 1848.
9. TREATISES AND ESSAYS ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH ECONOMICAL POLICY AND THE HISTORY OF COMMERCE, with Biographical Sketches of Quesnay, Adam Smith, and Ricardo. 1 vol. 8vo. Edinburgh, 1853.
THE RATE OF WAGES.
WAGES constitute the reward or compensation paid to labourers by those who employ them, in return for their services.
Taken in its widest sense, the term labourers is very comprehensive. In addition to the myriads who are engaged in agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing pursuits, it comprises all sorts of public functionaries, from the prime minister downwards, with those who crowd the ranks of what are called the learned and liberal professions. These parties, how widely soever they may differ in everything else, agree in this, that they exchange their services for valuable considerations of one sort or other. Their entire subsistence, in so far at least as they depend on their employment, is derived from wages; and they are as evidently labourers as if they handled a shuttle or a spade, or held a plough. Even those to whom ample fortunes have descended are not exempted from the necessity of exertion. The duties and obligations which property brings along with it are not a little onerous. The judicious management of a large estate, or other property, requires much care and circumspection. Without this, it may probably be wasted or dissipated; and, at all events, it cannot be applied
to its legitimate ends, of advancing the interests and the honour of its possessors, and the well-being of their tenants, dependants, and neighbours. Though the contrary be sometimes affirmed, the rich have little in cominon with the gods of Epicurus. Idleness is hardly less injurious to them than to the poor. Notwithstanding the influence which justly belongs to rank and wealth, every one is aware that "It is the hand of the diligent which bears rule." We may therefore say with Paley, that "Every man has his work. The kind of work varies, and that is all the difference there is. A great deal of labour exists beside that of the hands; many species of industry beside bodily operation, requiring equal assiduity, more attention, more anxiety. It is not true, therefore, that men of elevated stations are exempted from work; it is only true that there is assigned to them work of a different kind; whether more easy or more pleasant may be questioned; but certainly not less wanted, not less essential to the common good."1
In the following treatise the term labourers is taken in its popular and more confined sense. Our investigations refer to the wages of those only who labour with the hand, as contradistinguished from those who labour with the head. Manual labourers form, however, by far the most numerous class in all nations, and though ranking lower in public estimation than the others, their functions are of paramount importance. Our fleets and armies depend on them for recruits; their expenditure furnishes the largest portion of the public revenue; and their industry and ingenuity supply most part of the conveniences and enjoyments which raise civilized man above the savage. An inquiry into the circumstances which determine the wages and condition of those to whom the other classes are so deeply indebted, and who, at the same time, form so large a portion of all societies, must possess a superior degree of interest. It has much more of a practical than of a theoretical character. The vast majority of the labouring classes are very imperfectly informed with respect to the circumstances in question. And yet it will be seen that these are
1 Works, v. 98. Ed. 1819.