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Letter 06-05-1812

6th June, 1812.

MR. EDITOR—Sir, like your Correspondent VINDEX, of the 23rd ult. I too am a votary of peace; and like him too, entertain a hope that something may be done towards its restoration by a fair discussion of the unhappy differences which at present exist in this part of the country respecting the use of Machinery.
He begins by admitting the advantages of Machinery, in general, as a substitute for manual labour, and admitting this, I hope to make it appear that he must either confess himself guilty of inconsistency and an unfair attempt to pervert the course of argument from its straight road into the bye-path of his particular interest, or allow that it is equally desirable and equally advantageous to carry Machinery to the greatest possible perfection. Cropping by hand is universally allowed to be a most laborious employment; to crop by Machinery is done at a comparatively trifling expense of bodily exertion —So far, therefore, it is productive of an effect which Mr. Vindex himself allows to be desirable; and at no time whatever can new Machinery of any kind be introduced, but it must follow as matter of necessity, that those persons formerly employed in that particular labour now destined to be performed by Machinery, must be thrown out of their usual occupation, and for a time feel that inconvenience which we should any of us feel on being compelled to a change of our early habits. But because general good is unavoidably attended with partial evil, shall we refuse to promote the general welfare ? Shall we murmur at purchasing a lasting advantage at the expense of a temporary inconvenience ? It is within the recollection of us all that the Cotton Trade has superseded the manufacture of Worsted Goods, and that in consequence the Makers and Buyers of the latter goods were subject to great loss and inconvenience; yet they never rose up and said to this man, "You shall wear a pair of draw-boy breeches, or I'll shoot you," or to that woman, "You shall wear a callimanco petticoat, or I'll break your windows." Their sufferings were the unavoidable effect of the progressive improvement of society in general, which who would wish to put a stop to ? and they gradually surmounted them bv turning their exertions into other channels, and yet I believe they have been subjected to greater inconvenience than the Croppers have experienced. Their branch of business was really extirpated; but the Cropper might have secured a continuance of employment to themselves if they had chosen; for I am informed that the Owners of Cropping Mills were willing, and even desirous to employ old Croppers in preference to men who had not been brought up to that business, and also to have employed their wives and children as hurlers, &c. Their obstinacy, however, has compelled the Mill-Owners to employ men who were entire strangers to the business, and who are now earning from a guinea to 25 s. weekly in their service—wages which are surely no plea for riot and insurrection.

I am, Sir, your obedient Servant Halifax, May 26, 1812.JESTUS.

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