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is also another great evil connected with the wife-from-home system, in the distance of the dwelling from the workshop. It is sought far away because it is cheap; it cannot be had close at hand except under special circumstances, because it is dear. Here again is another deduction from the wife's wages. It is no use for an operative to rent a good house if it is too far away from the spindle and the loom. There is not time to keep it properly in order : hence cheap houses in low neighbourhoods are sought for and most in demand. In such houses there are few of the conditions of health complied with. Outside they are imperfectly drained; inside the ventilation is imperfect, and the health of the whole family is injured more or less thereby. Wages are lost, medical expenditure is incurred, all because the wifefrom-home must live near her work, although the house may be in every other respect unsuitable. If domestic habits are formed in early life, they are never totally obliterated; but they can never be formed except by an attentive mother's care at home. The daughters of a mother from home may easily be distinguished from those of an opposite parentage. Their slovenly gait, their swaggering manner
, their boisterous expression of feeling, merrily or otherwise, all mark them out as the offshoots of the non-domestic system. They know little, and care less, about decorons behaviour. They continue the evil their progenitors began, and they hand it down to others.
It is not to be denied that in Great Britain and Ireland the tendency is to overstock the labour market; and if females follow the occupations of the opposite sex, a fall of wages inevitably ensues. To refer to a former example that of Coventry--- we may state it as a fact which defies contradiction, that the more females have been employed in the making of watches and ribbons, the more have the wages of the males been reduced, until the trades named (considering the time required to learn them with proficiency) are now the worst-paid of the kind in existence. Thirty years ago, in that city there were no factories, and the female population were employed at home ; now, if the state of trade permitted of full employment, they would go to the factory at a distance from home instead. Thirty years ago, the state of mere schooling education in Coventry was in a more backward state than it is now ; and yet all that relates to cleanliness, domestic comfort, health, manners, and
character, were far better than they are now. The change for the worse has been brought about entirely by the growth and establishment of the wife-from-home system, which has been sufficiently powerful in its pernicious influence to counteract the advance of general education. The writer is not theorising in this matter-he has lived in its midst, he has seen it grow up around him, and has struggled against it in vain. One of the worst features in the wife-from-home system is, its tendency to fill beer and dram shops with women on Saturday evenings. Thirty years ago, a ribbonweaving woman, except she belonged to the lowest of the low, was never seen in a public-house drinking like besotted men ; now alas ! in ordinary times of trade such places are crowded with them, and there they sit and drink, quarrel and curse. A besotted Saturday night brings a stupid and filthy Sunday, followed by an unrefreshed Monday morning, and then the round of degradation goes on again. The character of the males is injured when that of the females is deteriorated, and thus the contamination spreads to all. The wife at home may make her home attractive to her husband and to her family, if she is so disposed ; the wife from home is likely both to lack the disposition and the power, and she is almost certain to lack either the one or the other. Daughters take from their mothers many of their tendencies. A wise and good mother may seek to train her children in the way they should go, and in the sure and certain 'hope that when they grow older they will not depart from it ; but if all her home influence is counteracted by the hostile agencies of society, she is sure more or less to fail in her endeavours. To give her the slightest chance of success she must have daily supervision, but ifshe is a wifefrom-home that is simply impossible. In proof of this we need only cite the fact, that careless and improvident women most abound in the wife-from-home districts. A man of sense and reason will strain every nerve to obtain employment for his wife at home before he seeks for it elsewhere, and least of all would he seek such employment for her as would tend to bring down his own wages. It is useless to talk about wages being low, apart from political and social economy. If a dozen people want the work of half or three parts of a dozen, wages will come down in spite of every effort to prevent them : thus it is bad policy to create a competition between the husband and the
wife in the wages of labour, for money is lost rather than gained thereby. This is putting the case on the lowest ground, that of monetary profit—an argument which will succeed when all others fail with the non-domestic mind. It
may be urged, it has been urged that there are manymany thousand homes where the wife is a sloven in her attire, dirty in her habits, wasteful in her expenditure, ignorant of her duties, quarrelsome in her character, intemperate in her associations, and immoral in her tendencies, and yet there has been no wife-from-home labour to account for it. The statement has some force in it, which however can easily be turned aside and rendered harmless as applied to the argument now under consideration. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit unless there are special causes to produce it. A tree may be sound in root, trunk, branch, and stem, and yet have worthless fruit upon it; but then such fruit forms the exception not the rule,
and by the rule should all conclusions be governed. And so with the wife-at-home system. It is not to be held responsible for ignorant neglect and reckless improvidence which it had no share in producing. Such things are not its natural produce, but excrescences which have grown up around it. Where the wifeat-home evils are like those of the wife abroad, we may rest assured that the cause is to be found in deficient mental training and moral culture.
Many women whose only occupation is to attend to home duties complain that their time is fully occupied—that they have “not a minute to bless themselves," and cannot keep things straight after all. In the largest families this may be the case ; but not in any others, or if it be so, it arises from want of system rather than anything else. Let each day have its duties, and those properly discharged as they arise, and they will not be burdensome to any but those of indolent disposition, and who therefore make“ a much ado about nothing." It is such women that appear in our police courts as parties in neighbourhood quarrels, and they usually belong to the lowest of the low in their mental condition. If a working man make every reasonable sacrifice for the comforts of home, the least that can be done in retum is, that his object shall not be defeated by slatternly neglect. The wife that does this, does more to drive her husband to the public-house than all other causes put together, and thus she brings upon herself an evil which lasts while life
remains. It is indeed lamentable to think how many neglected homes there are where there is no wife-from-home system to account for it; but how much of that has arisen from the non-domesticity of early life need not be dwelt upon--the fact inust be patent to all who have given any thought to the subject. The girl who has never known the comforts of a well-regulated home, is not likely as a wife and mother to make one. She will not place a right value. upon it, and therefore makes no adequate effort to produce it.
Daughters take from their mothers their chief tendencies: happy is it for them and for all with whom they have to do in after-life, if they are of the right character ! A daughter left to herself in early life by the absence of motherly supervision, is not likely to attain average competency in the duties of domestic life: thus“ bad begins, but worse remains behind.” The evil is continued from generation to generation, and the moral and social life of millions injured, and their progress is thus kept down to the dead level of the past. Few things are of greater value to the welfare of both sexes than a good education. Of that hitherto given the males have had the greater share. The education of both sexes is very deficient; but if any difference ought to be made, it should be in favour of the sex upon whom so much of our happiness depends from the cradle to the grave. There is one other subject to which we must refer, and then we must conclude-that of lightening the domestic labours of life by mechanical agencies, such as the washing, mangling, and sewing machines afford. These machines may now be bought or hired on moderate terms, and if it is found quite impossible to do without some monetary earnings from the wife at home, they may contribute to the family income likewise. Amongst the poorest of the poor, public wash-houses have been of great benefit, and there is no reason why some of a higher character may not be established for those in better circumstances.
It thus appears that when the wife-from-home system is weighed in the balance of human requirements and in the promotion of human happiness, it is found miserably wanting. Let us then away with it, and in its place establish one which will benefit body, mind, and estate, the character and circumstances of our working population. In this as in all other reforms, the press must lead the way. Let the
evils of the one system, and the advantages of the other, be fully, faithfully, and fearlessly set forth, and then they will
“Think, who never thought before ;
And they who've thought will think the more ;" and the change in a greater or less degree will come, oppose
Working men of England ! make every effort to lighten the labours of your partners in life. Working women of England ! show yourselves by a strict attention to home duties worthy of their regard. So shall you each contribute to aid the great work of moral and social progress of which society stands so much in need.
s at the commencement of this new age, in the latter
half of the last century, Dr. Franklin, one of its earliest and brightest luminaries, said of our orthography, “something must be done” to remedy its defects, so now all nations say, Something must be done to remedy the intolerable evils of the complicated and varying systems of Money, Weights, and Measures in use throughout the world. The author of the article “ Weights and Measures” in the “ Penny Cyclopædia” says—“The subject of Weights and Measures is one the actual state of which is prosperous in the inverse ratio of the number of books or the length of articles which are written upon it:" that is saying, in scientific phraseology, the present system is so confusing by its multiplicity of contradictory details, that in common phrase, as we say of the evils of others, “ the less said about them the better.” “But,” says this writer, “there is nothing in the subject of Weights and Measures which might not, if the most natural and simple system were adopted, be described in a very few pages." Î consider Coins as being, equally with Weights and Measures, included in this opinion ; for Coins are really weights of