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It is not, however, difficult to forefee which of the two parties muft, upon all ordinary occafions, have the advantage in the difpute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms. The mafters, being fewer in number, can combine much more eafily; and the law, befides, authorifes, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits thofe of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work; but many against combining to raife it. In all fuch difputes the mafters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a mafter manufacturer, or merchant, though they did not employ a fingle workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not fubfift a week, few could fubfift a month, and fcarce any a year without employment. In the long-run the workman may be as neceffary to his master as his mafter is to him; but the neceffity is not fo immediate.

We rarely hear, it has been faid, of the combinations of masters; though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that mafters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the fubject. Mafters are always and every where in a fort of tacit, but conftant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is every where a moft unpopular action, and a fort of reproach to a mafter among his neighbours and equals. We



feldom, indeed, hear of this combination, be- CHA P. cause it is the ufual, and one may fay, the natural state of things which nobody ever hears of. Mafters too fometimes enter into particular combinations to fink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmoft filence and fecrecy, till the moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they fometimes do, without refiftance, though feverely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently refifted by a contrary defenfive combination of the workmen; who fometimes too, without any provocation of this kind, combine of their own accord to raise the price of their labour. Their ufual pretences are, fometimes the high price of provifions; fometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work. But whether their combinations be offenfive or defenfive, they are always abundantly heard of. In order to bring the point to a speedy decifion, they have always recourfe to the loudeft clamour, and fometimes to the most shocking violence and outrage. They are desperate, and a&t with the folly and extravagance of defperate men, who must either ftarve, or frighten their mafters into an immediate compliance with their demands. The mafters upon thefe occafions are just as clamorous upon the other fide, and never ceafe to call aloud for the affiftance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of thofe laws which have been enacted with fo much feverity against the combinations of fervants, la

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BOOK bourers, and journeymen. The workmen, accordingly, very feldom derive any advantage from the violence of thofe tumultuous combinations, which, partly from the interpofition of the civil magiftrate, partly from the fuperior steadiness of the masters, partly from the neceffity which the greater part of the workmen are under of fubmitting for the fake of present fubfiftence, generally end in nothing, but the punishment or ruin of the ringleaders.

But though in difputes with their workmen, mafters must generally have the advantage, there is however a certain rate, below which it seems ✔impoffible to reduce, for any confiderable time, the ordinary wages even of the lowest species of labour.

A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at leaft be fufficient to maintain him. They must even upon moft occafions be fomewhat more; otherwise it would be impoffible for him to bring up a family, and the race of fuch workmen could not laft beyond the firft generation. Mr. Cantillon feems, upon this account, to fuppofe that the lowest species of common labourers muft every where earn at least double their own maintenance, in order that one with another they may be enabled to bring up two children; the labour of the wife, on account of her neceffary attendance on the children, being fuppofed no more than fufficient to provide for herself. But one-half the children born, it is computed, die before the age of manhood. The pooreft labourers, therefore, ac



cording to this account, muft, one with another, CHAP. attempt to rear at least four children, in order that two may have an equal chance of living to that age. But the neceffary maintenance of four children, it is fuppofed, may be nearly equal to that of one man. The labour of an able-bodied flave, the fame author adds, is computed to be worth double his maintenance; and that of the meaneft labourer, he thinks, cannot be worth lefs than that of an able-bodied flave. Thus far at least seems certain, that, in order to bring up a family, the labour of the hufband and wife together muft, even in the loweft fpecies of common labour, be able to earn fomething more than what is precifely neceffary for their own maintenance; but in what proportion, whether in that above mentioned, or in any other, I fhall not take upon me to determine.

There are certain circumftances, however, which fometimes give the labourers an advantage, and enable them to raise their wages confiderably above this rate; evidently the lowest which is confiftent with common humanity.

When in any country the demand for thofe who live by wages; labourers, journeymen, fervants of every kind, is continually increafing; when every year furnishes employment for a greater number than had been employed the year before, the workmen have no occafion to combine in order to raife their wages. The fcarcity of hands occafions a competition among mafters, who bid against one another, in order to get workmen, and thus voluntarily break through

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BOOK through the natural combination of masters not I. to raise wages.

The demand for those who live by wages, it is evident, cannot increase but in proportion to the increase of the funds which are deftined for the payment of wages. Thefe funds are of two kinds: first, the revenue which is over and above what is neceffary for the maintenance; Nand, fecondly, the flock which is over and above what is neceffary for the employment of their mafters.

When the landlord, annuitant, or monied man, has a greater revenue than what he judges fufficient to maintain his own family, he employs either the whole or a part of the furplus in maintaining one or more menial fervants. Increase this furplus, and he will naturally increase the number of thofe fervants.

When an independent workman, fuch as a weaver or fhoe-maker, has got more ftock than what is fufficient to purchase the materials of his own work, and to maintain himfelf till he can difpofe of it, he naturally employs one or more journeymen with the furplus, in order to make a profit by their work. Increase this furplus, and he will naturally increafe the number of his journeymen.

The demand for thofe who live by wages, therefore, neceflarily increafes with the increase of the revenue and ftock of every country, and cannot poffibly increase without it. The increafe of revenue and ftock is the increase of national wealth. The demand for thofe who live by wages,

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