« AnteriorContinuar »
not by his lodgers. Whereas, at Paris and CHA P. Edinburgh, the people who let lodgings have commonly no other means of fubfiftence; and the price of the lodging muft pay, not only the rent of the house, but the whole expence of the family.
Inequalities occafioned by the Policy of Europe.
UCH are the inequalities in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and ftock, which the defect of any of the three requifites abovementioned muft occafion, even where there is the most perfect liberty. But the policy of Europe, by not leaving things at perfect liberty, occafions other inequalities of much greater importance.
It does this chiefly in the three following ways. First, by restraining the competition in fome employments to a smaller number than would otherwise be difpofed to enter into them; fecondly, by increafing it in others beyond what it naturally would be; and, thirdly, by obftructing the free circulation of labour and stock, both from employment to employment and from place to place.
First, The policy of Europe occafions a very important inequality in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, by restraining the competition
BOOK Competition in fome employments to a finaller number than might otherwife be difpofed to enter into them.
The exclufive privileges of corporations are the principal means it makes ufe of for this purpofe.
The exclufive privilege of an incorporated trade neceffarily reftrains the competition, in the town where it is established, to thofe who are free of the trade. To have ferved an appren ticeship in the town, under a master properly qualified, is commonly the neceffary requifite for obtaining this freedom. The bye-laws of the corporation regulate fometimes the number of apprentices which any mafter is allowed to have, and almost always the number of years which each apprentice is obliged to ferve. The inten tion of both regulations is to restrain the compe. tition to a much smaller number than might otherwise be difpofed to enter into the trade. The limitation of the number of apprentices reftrains it directly. A long term of apprenticeship restrains it more indirectly, but as effectually, by increafing the expence of education.
In Sheffield no mafter cutler can have more than one apprentice at a time, by a bye-law of the corporation, In Norfolk and Norwich no master weaver can have more than two appren. tices, under pain of forfeiting five pounds a month to the king. No mafter hatter can have more than two apprentices any-where in England, or in the English plantations, under pain of forfeiting five pounds a month, half to the
king, and half to him who fhall fue in any court c H A P. of record. Both thefe regulations, though they have been confirmed by a public law of the kingdom, are evidently dictated by the fame corporation spirit which enacted the bye-law of Sheffield. The filk weavers in London had fcarce been incorporated a year, when they enacted a bye-law, reftraining any mafter from having more than two apprentices at a time. It required a particular act of parliament to refcind this bye-law.
Seven years feem anciently to have been, all over Europe, the ufual term eftablished for the duration of apprenticeships in the greater part of incorporated trades. All fuch incorporations were anciently called univerfities; which indeed is the proper Latin name for any incorporation whatever. The univerfity of fmiths, the univerfity of taylors, &c. are expreffions which we commonly meet with in the old charters of ancient towns. When thofe particular incorpora tions which are now peculiarly called univerfities were first established, the term of years which it was neceffary to study, in order to obtain the degree of master of arts, appears evidently to have been copied from the term of apprenticeship in common trades, of which the incorporations were much more ancient. As to have wrought feven years under a mafter pro. perly qualified, was neceffary, in order to entitle any person to become a master, and to have himfelf apprentices in a common trade; fo to have studied seven years under a master properly qualified,
BOOK lified was neceffary to entitle him to become a master, teacher, or doctor (words anciently fynonimous) in the liberal arts, and to have fcholars or apprentices (words likewife originally fynonimous) to ftudy under him.
By the 5th of Elizabeth, commonly called the Statute of Apprenticeship, it was enacted, that no perfon fhould for the future exercife any trade, craft, or mystery at that time exercifed in England, unless he had previously ferved to it an apprenticeship of feven years at leaft; and what before had been the bye-law of many particular corporations, became in England the general and public law of all trades carried on in market towns. For though the words of the ftatute are very general, and feem plainly to include the whole kingdom, by interpretation its operation has been limited to market towns, it having been held that in country villages a perfon may exercife feveral different trades, though he has not ferved a seven years apprenticeship to each, they being neceffary for the conveniency of the inhabitants, and the number of people fre quently not being fufficient to fupply each with a particular fet of hands.
By a ftrict interpretation of the words too the operation of this ftatute has been limited to thofe trades which were established in England before the 5th of Elizabeth, and has never been extended to fuch as have been introduced fince that time. This limitation has given occafion to feveral diftinctions which, confidered as rules of police, appear as foolish as can well be ima
gined. It has been adjudged, for example, that CHA P. a coach-maker can neither himself make nor employ journeymen to make his coach-wheels; but must buy them of a mafter wheel-wright; this latter trade having been exercifed in England before the 5th of Elizabeth. But a wheelwright, though he has never ferved an apprenticeship to a coach-maker, may either himself make or employ journeymen to make coaches; the trade of a coach-maker not being within the ftatute, because not exercised in England at the time when it was made. The manufactures of Manchester, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton, are many of them, upon this account, not within the ftatute; not having been exercifed in England before the 5th of Elizabeth.
In France, the duration of apprenticeships is different in different towns and in different trades. In Paris, five years is the term required in a great number; but before any person can be qualified to exercise the trade as a master, he muft, in many of them, serve five years more as a journeyman. During this latter term he is called the companion of his mafter, and the term itself is called his companionship.
In Scotland there is no general law which regulates univerfally the duration of apprenticefhips. The term is different in different corporations. Where it is long, a part of it may generally be redeemed by paying a finall fine, In moft towns too a very fmall fine is fufficient to purchase the freedom of any corporation. The weavers of linen and hempen cloth, the principal