H M Hyndman July 23 1890
Hyndman v Bradlaugh, “Eight Hours Movement,” Pamphlet, Freethought, pp.48. Copied from the pamphlet in the Bishopsgate Institute Library.
A verbatim report of a Debate between H. M. Hyndman and Charles Bradlaugh, M.P. held at St James’ Hall, Piccadilly on Wednesday July 23rd, 1890, Mr. Sydney Buxton, M.P., in the Chair. (Revised by both Disputants.) Published in London by the Freethought Publishing Company, 63 Fleet Street, E.C., in 1884, price 6d. and Printed by Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh.
The CHAIRMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, – My duties as chairman this evening are very simple, and, looking around on the audience, I see that they will be very easy. They are to keep order, and to see fair play. (Hear, hear.) Gentlemen, in my individual capacity, I share the privilege that each one of you rejoices in as an Englishman, of having an opinion on the eight hours’ question, and on every other question under the sun; but in my capacity as chairman this evening I have no opinion either on the eight hours’ question or any other question, except that law and order shall prevail in this hall this evening. (Applause.) Now, gentlemen, I think it will be necessary for me to interfere only in two respects. In the first place, I shall be very stern with the speakers that they keep absolutely to the time that has been allotted to them; and, secondly – and I hope you will support me in this – I should desire, as far as in me lies, to prevent any personal attacks or personal recrimination which may possibly crop up in this debate. (Hear, hear.) We are met here this evening for a public purpose. It is the desire of every one of us here this evening, I am sure, to arrive as far as we can at the truth and the justice of this question, and we all desire to do what in us lies for the benefit and the advantage of the labor question and of the nation at large. (Hear, hear.) Now, gentlemen, this debate will be watched with very considerable interest, not only from the great importance of the question itself, but also as possibly creating a precedent for future action; because if the two disputants will, as I am sure they will, meet each ether fair and square in argument and in debate, fair and square in a way that is almost impossible, and is very seldom done when opponents are speaking from separate platforms, we shall find that other great questions of the day will be similarly discussed in the way that this eight hours’ question is going to be discussed this evening. Why, gentlemen, I should not be surprised if this mode of conducting debate were to become so popular that some of our debates in the House of Commons might be taken from the arena of the House of Commons to the arena of a common platform, and perhaps we may live to see the leaders of the House and the leader of the Opposition(laughter) – to see Mr. Smith and Mr. Gladstone – (cheers) – disputing questions of precedence, and questions of precedents in St. James’s Hall; or perhaps we may find Mr. Balfour and Mr. Parnell – (cheers and hisses) – debating from a common platform the great question of Irish national government. But, ladies and gentlemen, seriously, such a debate as this cannot fail to be of use. It throws light on this great question. It gives food of thought for each one of us, and it will help to show on which side the truth prevails, and it will help the public mind to come to a just conclusion on this question.
Now, gentlemen, it only remains for me to tell you what will be the order of procedure, and to express the confident hope that every one of you here will give a full, fair, and attentive hearing to the two speakers. Now, gentlemen, Mr. Hyndman will open the debate with the proposition which he has submitted in writing to Mr. Bradlaugh, which is as follows:
“That the enactment by law of eight hours a day, or forty-eight hours a week, as the maximum amount of work for adults in all factories, mines, workshops, and businesses conducted for profit will prove a valuable palliative of our present industrial anarchy.”
In addition to that, Mr. Hyndman has, at Mr. Bradlaugh’s request, drawn up a draft Bill embodying this proposition, which probably most of you in the Hall now hold in your hands. To that proposition of Mr. Hyndman’s Mr. Bradlaugh will propose the following counter proposition:
“That it is desirable that all wage-earners should work the smallest number of hours per day consistent with the profitable conduct of the industries in which they are respectively engaged; that the limitation of eight hours a day as the period during which an industrial establishment may be carried on may be fatal to many large industries in this country; that the hours of labor in each industry should be severally settled by conciliatory conference between the employed and employers or their representatives.”
(Cheers.) Now, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Hyndman will make his proposition, and he will speak for exactly half an hour. Then Mr. Bradlaugh will follow, also for half an hour. Mr. Hyndman will then follow Mr. Bradlaugh in a quarter of an hour’s speech; then Mr. Bradlaugh will have another quarter of an hour; Mr. Hyndman will have a further quarter of an hour, and Mr. Bradlaugh will wind up with a final quarter of an hour. So that we shall have this great question debated by each speaker for the hour allotted to him, and I can only wish that many of the questions in the House of Commons were debated in such a short time as that. It would be useless to attempt after the subject has been debated in a meeting like this to vote upon it by show of hands. (Hear, hear.) No one, certainly not I, could be responsible for any accurate counting, and, therefore, we do not propose to have a show of hands in reference to this matter; and as we have come here to hear Mr. Hyndman and Mr. Bradlaugh I do not propose to accept any amendment and proposal from anyone in the Hall. (Hear, hear.) I now call on Mr. Hyndman to make his proposition.
Mr. HYNDMAN: Mr. Chairman, Friends, and Fellow Citizens, in opening this debate here to-night, with the proposition that I have formulated, and meeting the counter-proposition which Mr. Bradlaugh has made in his turn, I quite agree with our Chairman that we have a serious subject under discussion – one which does affect every man and woman who is working for wages throughout this great country. The proposition you have heard, and the remarkable part of it is this, that nobody so far as I know – not even my opponent here on the platform to-night – denies in any shape or way that over-work exists at the present time. (Hear, hear.) Furthermore, he says that it is desirable that over-work should be limited. The difference between us lies in how to limit it, and what steps to take. But, before I deal with the antagonistic view, I must first of all state what the result is of the present system. For I see in my opponent’s counterproposal on that the same wording is introduced which he introduced in his article in the New Review. He says, “profitable to any industry.” Now, Mr. Chairman, with this word “profitable” we have to consider what is it that is profitable to the people of this country? I say that if it can be shown, as shown it undoubtedly can, that in industry after industry – in nearly every industry in this country – workmen and workwomen are worked to an extent which not only is not profitable to them, but which absolutely saps their vitality, destroys their intelligence, and leaves them no leisure for consideration, and crushes them down like brutes of the field, and worse – then I say no industry is profitable. (Applause.) No industry is profitable which can only be carried on under conditions which mean degradation for those who practise that industry. (Great applause.) There are few perhaps who consider what is the pecuniary value of health. That to the community must be the most profitable industry that can possibly be entered upon which obtains the best possible health for every man, woman, and child in the particular community, for in that lies the great resources of this great country. But at the present moment what is going on? Health is being sapped in every way, in every trade, and not only is that so, but, to take this question of eight hours, if you ask any medical man or any physiologist he will tell you that eight hours a day of continuous hard work is too much for any man. (Hear, hear.) You cannot work a horse for more than three and a-half to four hours a day, and any man who has tried working with his hands seriously and hard for eight hours a day will admit that eight hours is too much labor for anyone to continue in health, if he carries it on day in and day out, year in and year out. Therefore, I say the proposition I have before me here to-night is essentially a moderate proposition, and I have rarely stood in that position in my life of late years. (Hear, hear.) Now, what are the effects of over-work? One of the effects is this. I do not say that over-work is the only cause of the early decease of the working classes, but the working classes at this time die at just half the age of the class to which I belong – the class, namely, of those who live upon labor. The average of the working classes at the present time is about twenty-seven years as against fifty-five for those who do not work. (“Shame!”) And there is one remarkable feature in this which I hope my opponent will give his best attention to, and that is this: that so bad is this over-work for the people that during periods of depression, when the workers are not permitted to work owing to the system of industrial anarchy which at present prevails, positively the death-rate among the workers falls, although at that very time they are exposed to semi-starvation, and worse. (“Shame!”) That was the case during the time of the Lancashire cotton famine, when positively during that awful period the death rate among the workers of Lancashire fell, although a cotton famine and a period of no work prevailed throughout that great county. I say that is a very important fact. Again, let us look around upon the industrial anarchy that prevails to-day. Here you see those in Government employment at Woolwich Arsenal, at Enfield, and in the Post Office, where I was delighted to see the sweated victims have lately raised some protest against the official sweater – (loud applause) – in every one of those industries what do you find under the Government, that at the very time that exceptional hours are being worked – fifteen, sixteen, eighteen, and even thirty-six hours at a stretch have been worked at Woolwich Arsenal – at that very time there have been 20,000 and 30,000, and even 100,000 unemployed men walking along the streets of London. At the very time that those exceptional hours were being worked the comrades of these men were walking the streets without the capacity to work, because they were not permitted to do so. I say, therefore, that that is practically anarchy – that one man should be overworked and his vitality reduced and his health destroyed, and at the same time another and quite as capable a man is going round unable to work because he is not permitted to do so. That, I say, is practically an anarchical system. But further than that, the man who is out of work, and is not doing his share of the work of the community, is a tax on that community, and a burden on himself. (Hear, hear.) Now, we have had for years past two great opponents of this idea of limiting the hours of labor. We have had against us the political economists and the parsons. They are the secular and the sacred ministers of Mammon. (Hear, hear.) The function of the political economist is to confuse our hearts, and the function of the parson is to chloroform our intelligence. But, happily, at the present time both the one and the other are beginning to see the necessity of taking the same side with the people, and not later than last week there came forth from one of these darkest places of the earth – the study and the class-room of the political economist – a book, in which it is alleged by a professor of political economy that one of the most important things for a people to consider is the well-being of the people who work themselves – (hear, hear) – and that even if less wealth is produced by a reduction of those hours of labor which at present are so excessive, it will be beneficial to the people as a whole rather than the continuance of the present system. (Cheers.) Therefore, we no longer to-day have even the political economists as a whole against us. On the other side, I will not deal with the parsons it is not necessary. (Laughter.) However, the point now is, what is the result of our present system? The result is this: that if you take the condition of the workmen and workwomen, their physical strength is being deteriorated by the present system. The height and the chest measurement of recruits have fallen markedly since the Queen came to the throne fifty years ago. Anyone who is acquainted with the manufacturing districts, as I have been since I was a boy, must see not only in the reports of certifying surgeons and sanitary inspectors, but from his own experience and under his own eye he can see perfectly clearly that deterioration continually going on, and in the same way the shop-girls and girls behind the bars, and women working for hire at an occupation which is exceedingly wearisome, although it does not appear to be so. What is stated in the Lancet and in the British Medical Journal and by such men as Dr. Richardson and others? They all say that work, when carried on for these long hours, this long standing behind these bars, this long work in the factory, is practically rendering the women who are forced to take up this excessive toil incapable of producing healthy children for the next generation. (Hear, hear.) I say that from any point of view whatsoever a system which not only destroys the present generation, but lays the foundation of weakness and debility for the next, cannot be profitable in any sense of the word, but must be ruinous to the community at large. (Loud cheers.) Now if this were carried on by a majority at the expense of the minority, Mr. Chairman, I should equally contend that it was our bounden duty to relieve the minority from this injustice and injury that they were suffering from. I should say that to be collective slave-drivers in that sense at the expense of the few would be equally ruinous and rascally. What is the case? It is not the question of the minority being slave-driven for the benefit of the majority; it is the majority at the present time who are being slave-driven and injured for the benefit of a comparatively small minority. (Applause.) Therefore, if that be so, and it is manifest upon the very facts put forth from the Government offices, then not only as a matter of expediency, but as a matter of the highest ethical right, we are bound at the present time to interfere with this system. And further it is easy to do. There is no reason why not. The power of man over nature at this present time is almost infinitely greater in many departments of industry than it was fifty or one hundred years ago. In every industry in this country the power of one man or woman to produce wealth has been multiplied many fold during the period of the lifetime of men in this hall. If that be the case – and we admit it every day of our lives – why is it that the workers alone are to have no benefit from this progress? Why is it that they at the present time should work sixteen and eighteen hours a day, and even longer hours in some trades than years ago, when they are producing at this present time far more in a few hours than they were fifty or one hundred years ago in the longer hours. For once I must say what I heard the other day, and I think it will appeal to some present. There was a girl in the employment of a manufacturer who himself has what are called Socialistic sympathies. She was making three pairs of stockings in a day with a machine then in vogue. Another machine is introduced whereby eight pairs of stockings could be made in a day; and her employer said to her, “I am going to provide you with a machine that will enable you to make eight pairs of stockings where you could only make three pairs before.” The child was delighted. Her face beamed with smiles, for she thought out of this increase of eight pairs as against three she at least would derive some advantage. But he then explained to her that all his rival manufacturers would equally have the improved machines, and although she would be making the eight pairs of stockings in the same time she had previously made three, not one particle of advantage would she derive from it either as girl, as woman, or when she went down to her grave. (“Shame!”) You see there is the manifest irony of the present system – harder and more intense toil; greater wealth for the community; and no benefit whatsoever, but perhaps longer hours of work, to those that produce the wealth. I say that is neither just nor expedient, and that it is worth trying to diminish, and that it should be put down by process of law. (Applause.) But now we call for the interference of the State, which means, or should mean, the organised forces of the whole community. (Hear, hear.) My opponent on this platform says that it should be, as his proposition states, by mutual agreement – (Hear, hear, and laughter) – between the shark and flying fish. I venture to think that that is impossible – (hear, hear) – and the best evidence I can give of that is the action of my opponent himself. When he wants something very important carried – and I do not deny that in certain respects what he has done in the House of Commons has been beneficial with regard to the workers – (cheers) – I say that that endeavor to extend the operation of the Truck Act – why did not he leave that to Trade Unions? (Applause.) As we pointed out in our little journal Justice at the time, the moment Mr. Bradlaugh very much wished to carry something which he considered for the benefit of the working classes, he dropped all his talk about Trade Unions, and at once appealed to the Legislature to enforce that which he knew Trade Unionists could not by themselves do. But he does not confine himself even to the restrictive operation of the law, but at the present moment he is sincerely desirous that the land should be cultivated, that much of this land which we see around us which is out of cultivation at the present time should have industrious people put upon it, who should cultivate it for the benefit of the community. Does he leave that to the Trade Unions? Not at all. Once more he appeals to the Legislature to compel – to compel only think, individuals are to be compelled – to cultivate the land which at present is out of cultivation. I say, therefore, that I have a perfect right to claim my opponent on this platform as an ally of mine and the rest of us Social Democrats in this hall in this appeal to the State to interfere with the right of the individual to wrong the community. (Hear, hear.) But why did he not appeal to Trade Unionists? Because they are not strong enough to do his business. (Hear, hear). Because Trade Unionists at the present time constitute but a small minority, unfortunately, of the working classes in this country; and, because, what is very important indeed, women are scarcely at all numbered in the Trade Unions at the present time. Their trade-unionism has scarcely begun and yet there is no portion of the community that is so much crushed by overwork at the present time as these defenceless women, and even children, who do not belong to any union at all. (Applause.) For whom then should the power of the State be called in? Why certainly for those who are incapable at the present time of defending themselves – on a more important question even than the Truck Act, or the compulsory cultivation of land. But Trade Unions have attempted to do certain things for themselves, and, unfortunately, they have to a large extent failed. I may enumerate the most important matters that they are exceedingly earnest about, and where they have failed to carry out what they have set before them. They failed to abolish piecework, although everybody who is a Trade Unionist knows they wish to put an end to it. They failed to suppress overtime, although everybody who is a Trade Unionist knows very well that the extra wages for overtime do not in any way compensate them for the extra amount they take out of themselves in that overtime. (Hear, hear.) They have not been able in any degree to limit the number of apprentices, which is a matter to which they themselves give very great attention. And also, more important than all, they have been wholly incapable of dealing with the question of the unemployed. (Applause.) Now, then, that being so, I say that it is perfectly clear that the trade unions are not capable of coping with this question of the limitation of the hours of labor. The short hours for work are in many cases completely illusory, and overtime comes in to build up the day’s work to a regular sweating business. But not only so; where they have won in a few cases even of late, you can see what the result is. The question is never considered settled. If you take, for example, the gas stokers, what happened there? They won the eight hours’ day – as they thought; but a period came when Mr. George Livesey and the gas stokers – (groans) – got into conflict, and what has he done? The moment he won he reinstated the twelve hour day. Therefore, we say that these examples show perfectly clearly that Trade Unionism, valuable as it may be, is insufficient to do the very thing which Mr. Bradlaugh says it is desirable to do. Now, take a case which shows how very different it is on the other side. The Factory Acts – although I am perfectly aware that now and then they are evaded – and I wish to goodness criminal punishment were imposed on any man who breaks them in any shape or way – the Factory Acts have, in the main, been successful, and what is very remarkable is, as I shall have occasion to point out later, that these very arguments that my opponent is putting forward in the press, and is now, I presume, going to put before you on this platform, were alleged against these Factory Acts by the champions of the very class that he is championing here to-night. (Applause.) But where they have been adopted, they have been signally beneficial. Now, at this very time, what is the case with regard to the eight hours? The Eight Hours’ Bill, as I understand from the chairman, most of you have in your hands, and I think you have. What do we ask, on a wider scale, but that which the Factory Acts and other enactments have already consecrated – the intervention of the State to limit the power of a class to crush the people by overwork owing to the competition that is going on? (Applause.) What is the difficulty of the working class? Those of you who belong to it know it perfectly well. It is absurd to suppose you are independent. It is an illusory freedom – a fraudulent liberty – which is held out to you. You know very well that there is no whip of the slave driver either so strong or so bitter as that of having to go morning after morning seeking for work, when practically there is none to be found. (Loud applause.) When, as a matter of fact, you may be underbidding your own fellows, and be called a “blackleg,” because, unfortunately, wife and children are starving at home. I say that is one of the matters we distinctly hope and intend, as far we can, shall be interfered with. And, remember, I do not, and never have, based any right or any claim upon mere majority. I should believe we were equally right if I were standing on the platform in a minority of one, as I have been on more than one question. (Laughter.) But the majority on this question is growing fast. (Hear, hear.) At this very time, throughout this country, the mass of the working classes are discussing this question of the eight hours. At Southport, the other day, 70,000 miners voted solid for it; and throughout the trade unions at the present time, if a vote were fairly taken, it is my firm belief that a large majority would go for the Eight Hours Bill. (Applause.) But we know further than that where it has been adopted it has proved to be beneficial. If you ask those who are working the Huddersfield tramway, they will tell you the eight hours measure has been a beneficial one; if you ask even a capitalist like Mr. Beaufoy, who adopted it in his workshop, he will tell you it has been beneficial to him and to his men too. If you go to Victoria, where the skilled unionists have got it, both capitalists and masters agree it has been beneficial to the community. Therefore, although there it was brought about by the combination of Trade Unions, and although in fact it has not extended to unskilled laborers and women, still I am quoting these as instances showing the benefit which arises to the people. As a matter of fact anybody can understand the benefit. A man, instead of being worked to death, has some leisure in which to study the problems about him – to consider – what we Social Democrats most want – to consider the difficulties he is in, and the slavish position, which, at the present time, he occupies. What, then are the objections to this? First, that it will interfere with individuals. Is it not a question of slavery at the present time? How much of individualism is left in a man who never sees his children except asleep – who has to work fourteen, fifteen and sixteen hours a day? (Applause.) How much of individualism has a woman who has worked for perhaps fourteen to sixteen hours behind a bar for twelve shillings a week? Or the sweated seamstress, how much has she of individuality left for anyone to crush? I say such arguments are derisive and absurd. Again, it is said it will reduce wages. Why at the present moment those who work the shortest hours are those who obtain the highest wages. What is even very germane to the matter, the plumbers who are working under a Royal Charter eight hours a day, receive one penny per hour more wages than any other persons in the building trade. Again I contend that when competition is reduced – as reduced it will be – at any rate in any trade where there is permanent employment, like railways, government employments, tramways, etc. – that the competition being withdrawn the unemployed being, to a certain extent at any rate, absorbed, wages will tend to rise because of the competition being taken away. For what is it that keeps down wages to-day? The fact that four men are competing for one man’s job. (Applause.) Again, not only so, but those who are taken into work at the present time would constitute an enormous home trade more valuable than any foreign trade as anyone will tell you who has examined the circumstances. Why is it that the unemployed cannot buy? Because they have no wage wherewith to buy. But if you put these men into work, certainly in railways; certainly in Government employment; certainly in omnibuses and tramways; most of which is unskilled labor; then these men would have a demand for reproductive use, and they would practically take up large portions of those commodities that now weigh on the market. Then I am told it will crush capital. Poor capital! I have generally found the capitalist uncommonly well able to take care of himself, either in this or in any other country I ever was in. I do not know why we need trouble much about crushing capital. (Loud cheers.) Again, I am told that it will ruin many industries in this country; which I take to mean that it will ruin them by foreign competition. Again I say precisely the same argument was put before us on the question of the Factory Acts. It was alleged over and over again, and it proved exactly the contrary. From the time the Factory Acts passed until the year 1871 was a period of booming prosperity, such as this or any other country has never known. I contend that if you reduce the hours of labor to eight per day the fresh machines which are now hanging on the markets would be introduced at the present time, and that that would be the danger, and not any other. For so far from interfering with our competitive force, as Robert Owen proved eighty years ago at New Lanark, short hours of labor of intelligent men are practically better than long hours of men who have no time to learn or think. (Applause.) Nor is this all. If you go to the different countries who have competition to fear, against whom are they setting up tariffs? Against the shorter hours that are worked in the English trades. You find that all over the Continent and in America. And in the neutral markets whom have we to fear? Why America, where in certain trades they work shorter hours even than our own? It is the skilled and intelligent work of America, under shorter hours, that we have to fear, far more than the long hours of Germans, Belgians, or anybody else. I would further say there is an enormous host of people who would not be affected at all by this foreign competition in any shape or way. There is the Government employment, railways, tramways, omnibuses, bakehouses, gas-works, municipal employment, dressmaking, domestic servants, servants in hotels, largely agricultural, and coal mines to a very great extent, shopmen, and shop girls; these, with those who are dependent on them, numbering something like two millions of people, adults, who would be benefited by this legislation, and who would not be affected in any way by foreign competition. At any rate, the workers are ready to run the risk. (Loud cheers.) They call for the limitation of the hours of labor, and they know perfectly well that their wages, so far from being reduced, would probably rise, and at any rate they would be compensated for any temporary drawback by the greater amount of leisure and the greater amount of freedom they would gain. At this present time the Eight Hours Bill is being demanded in every country in Europe, and that also meets the question of foreign competition. Why, when we met at that International Congress in Paris last year, what was demanded from all quarters of the earth, as a palliative merely, was an eight hour law to restrict the slave driving of to-day. And further, Mr. Chairman, as a revolutionary Social Democrat I say I know perfectly well this Eight Hour Bill is but a palliative, but it is a valuable one, because we know perfectly well that the introduction of better machinery may possibly bring about a larger accumulation of commodities, which will bring on crises earlier than before. We are confident of the future. With an educated and leisurely class we are sure that demands on the Government will be made; and when met will be beneficial to the whole community. (Applause.)
MR. BRADLAUGH: There are several points upon which it is necessary that we should be absolutely clear if any wise result is to follow this debate. The first point I ask my opponent to address himself to when he rises again, and which has been left in doubt by his speech, is whether he means that there shall be only one shift of eight hours in each industry. (Hear, hear.) That is a most important matter as affecting a large proportion of the figures which it will be my duty to lay before you. Apparently that is what he meant by his reply to my counter proposition on that point, but it is by no means clear, either from his own proposition, or from the Bill which he has drafted. Next I want to know whether he means his proposition to apply to all kinds of labor, or only to adult labor. His proposition only applies to adult labor, but the Bill applies to all kinds of labor, whether adult labor or not. It would, therefore, include all young persons as well as those who are beneath the Parliamentary age of young persons, and a most important issue will be raised upon that question. I agree that in some trades, and in occupations which are not trades, there is much over-work; but I deny that there is over-work in every occupation in this country. (Hear, hear, and expressions of dissent). As the burden of proof rests upon my opponent, who is the challenger here, I will ask him to consider one or two occupations as to which I shall not make vague statements, but precise statements, when I deal with them, and I will show you the importance of this. You may quote a resolution of a number of men in favor of eight hours, as was quoted of the miners at Southport, either not knowing yourself, or, if you know, concealing from the audience, that the miners voted for the eight hours for the purpose of stopping output, and for no other reason whatever. If we are to discuss this on the basis of a stoppage of output, in how many trades is that to apply, and what kind of calculations have been made by the person who proposes to effect that by process of law? Shortly, remember this. The Bill and the proposition. of my opponent, involve a compulsory declaration that no person shall work more than eight hours per day, and may mean that no industrial establishment shall be conducted for more than eight hours a day, and I undertake to show in the last event by figures impossible of dispute, which I have here, that the bulk of the textile industries in this country would be ruined at once. (Laughter.) Yes, be ruined at once, and that the miners of Northumberland have declared that a compulsory eight hours’ Bill applied to their county might make thousands of them work a longer time, and would certainly throw thousands of them out of employment. (Applause and laughter.) I do not blame you for being dissatisfied with my statement, but I would beg you to remember that as the reporter is taking a verbatim report it will be to your interest, if I am wrong, that every inaccurate statement I make should remain stamped to convict me afterwards. (Hear, hear.) I would point out to you that in the opening speech, probably from the great pressure matter upon the opener, we have had none but the vaguest statements, and that there is no case in which we have had any statistics quoted to prove it. I would point out to you that with reference to the death-rate there has been no statement which would enable me to turn round to my opponent, and to quote statistics against him. He has not said that the death-rate is increasing generally. He dare not say that. He has not said how much of the death-rate with which he has dealt applies to children under five years of age who do not work at all; and I will undertake, if he will venture to reduce his vague statements to positive allegations of fact, to meet them at once with statistics which are impossible of contradiction. (Hear, hear.) Now there is another curious thing. The speaker made a great deal of Government employments, but his proposition does not touch Government employment: it is limited to mines, workshops and businesses conducted for profit. Probably that is only a slip of the pen; but what I complain of is that in this eight hours’ question looseness of language is used all round; and at any rate if it is to be submitted to the Legislature to examine we ought at first to know what is meant by the proposition put forward. If you limit your working in mines or factories to eight hours per day, is it to be with the possibility of double or treble shifts? If not, it lies upon you to show that in each case where longer hours are worked, it is possible to conduct that industry so as to find the money each week to pay the wage. (Applause and laughter.) I will tell you what I mean by “profitable” – (interruption)
The CHAIRMAN: I really must appeal to every one of you in the audience to give Mr. Bradlaugh as patient a hearing as Mr. Hyndman received. (Hear, hear.) No one could have received a more attentive and patient hearing than the first speaker, and it is only fair that both speakers should receive an equally attentive hearing. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. BRADLAUGH: I would ask you who are in the minority in this hall (laughter), and who disagree with what I am saying, at any rate to be confident in the justice of your cause, and to let my impeachment of it be made clear. There was no attempt on the part of my opponent to examine carefully the terms of his proposition. He talked about industrial anarchy – when I was interrupted I was about to deal with profitable business, and I will deal with that, and go back to the point of industrial anarchy afterwards. It shows the evil of interruption, as diverting one from the argument in hand. By business conducted for profit I mean a business, the conduct of which, after recouping the cost of raw material, after recouping the outlay in the fixed plant, and other matters connected with the establishment, after providing such wage as shall insure life to the worker (“Oh, oh!” and continued interruption, in consequence of which the sentence was unfinished). I defined life and pleaded for life, and tried by reforms to make life more possible thirty years ago. (Hear, hear, and applause.) I may have stood still, but I have not changed. (Renewed applause.) I define life to the wage earner to mean reasonable subsistence for himself and those of his family who are either unable to work, or insufficiently educated to work, to include leisure, not only for rest, but for education and enjoyment. (Hear, hear.) So that my definition of life would have sunshine in it, while revolutionary Social Democracy will only have brimstone and bayonets. (Cheers and groans.) How are we to test the alleged industrial anarchy which forms the main feature of the proposition which I am here meeting? Is it alleged that there is more poverty to-day? Show the statistics. I have mine here, but I wait until you show them. Is it alleged that there is more disease? Our vital statistics are more complete than they ever were at any period of our history. Is it alleged that there is more crime? Is it alleged, except in relation to Ireland, in consequence of the agrarian misery that there prevails, that there is even more poverty? On the contrary, the statistics are entirely the other way. (Applause.) Now I challenge those who are dealing with the point of view of my opponent to give us, not vague statements, but actual allegations of fact which I may explain and contradict if I do not agree with them. (Hear, hear.) Then we are told (“Oh"!) – but at any rate you cannot oppose this of all men in the world, for you have appealed to the Legislature. It shows that the speaker has never read, or if he has read, has conveniently forgotten the Truck Act, to which he refers. The Truck Act was directed to punish as crime frauds committed by employers on employed. (Hear, hear.) It did not attempt to regulate the relations between employer and employed, except where those relations were fraudulent, for the purpose of defrauding the employed person of the wage agreed to be paid to him. If I had been wrong in it, it would not have mattered much, nor ought these kind of charges to stand in lieu of proof of the proposition (hear, hear) – because if I had been as absurd and inconsistent as many men are who often address the public, I ought not to have my inconsistency pleaded as if it were proof of the proposition, the onus probandi of which lies upon my opponent here; nor does it at all apply to my proposal with reference to the compulsory cultivation of land, because in that case, rightly or wrongly (I may be wrong), my view, and my contention in the House of Commons, was, that just as upon the laboring man the criminal law imposes the duty of utilising his labor under penalty of indictment, so on the land owners, land being necessary to the country, my contention was that the duty did rest upon him by law of cultivating it, so that it might bear its fair burden of the taxation, and contribute to employment. (Applause.) I pass those matters which are irrelevant if they were accurate, and which are inaccurate as well as irrelevant. (Cheers and laughter.) I will now continue to examine how it has been neglected to be attempted to be proved that any kind of palliative can come from the imposition of eight hours. What would be the increased cost of production from the diminution of the hours of labor? Not a word has been said on that. I admit that our means of information are not very great, but we have some, and the reckless allegation that experience proved that in every case where the hours of labor have been shortened, the productive labor (therefore affecting the cost of production) has increased, has not been borne out, and we have more than one case to illustrate it. The burden rests upon my opponent, and if I said nothing on this it is upon his shoulders that the whole of these facts should have been borne to you. But we have the cases of the Northumberland and Durham coal trade arbitrations, carefully reported; and in the Coal Trade Arbitration for December, 1875, which I will not burden you with quoting at any length, unless my opponent should venture to challenge the statement of fact I am abridging from it – it was proved by exact figures, and I have got the whole of them taken out here, that between January, 1871, and November, 1875, in consequence of the reduction in the hours of labor – which I am in favor of, and have always been in favor of – (applause) – in consequence of the reduction in the hours of labor by mutual arrangement between the employers and the employed – (laughter) – the cost of production, taken as if at the same rate of wage, had been increased by 21 per cent. (Hear, hear.) And if in any case an increase is shown, the burden rests upon the one who says to the employer: you shall not work your works, and to the men: you shall not work in them – the burden rests on him before he makes the employer criminal, and the working man without employment starving in the street – the burden rests upon him to show how he would meet it. (Great interruption.) In a Northern chemical works, of which I have also the figures carefully taken, in 1871 eight-hour shifts were substituted for twelve-hour shifts. In the case of the ball-furnacemen, and in the case of the decomposers, the pecuniary result was an increase of 20 per cent in the wages; and the curious thing is that when bad times came the men themselves asked to go back to the old methods of working, and I will show you why presently. The speaker denounced overwork, but do you understand that his proposition is, working men, that if some of you have been sick for three days you shall never have the opportunity of making up those three days? (Hisses.) “Starving men” and “starving women” brought cheers from different parts of the hall; but do you understand that when a man has been out of work for a fortnight they say: “Oh, you must go on starving; you shall not be allowed to fill the cupboard or the coal cellar by extra exertion.” (Applause and uproar.) Anticipating that some attempt might be made to prove some portion of the proposition, I had the whole of the facts with reference to the textile industries of the country carefully indexed. But I shall not quote them until some attempt is made on the part of my opponent; and he ought to have said to you that nearly every statistic that you can quote to-day in relation to labor, except the Foreign Diplomatic Reports, which were begun before I entered the House of Commons, you owe to my vote, and to my motion in the House, and to no other cause whatever. (Applause.) I do not want to take any other credit for that than is due to the fact that I am in a position to say that at any rate I have not tried to keep men ignorant or to delude them with vain phrases. I have tried to get for them the substantial benefits of accurate knowledge: The whole of the eight hours legislation, throughout the civilised world, and for America; the whole of the returns as to that were laid on the table of the House on my motion; and they do not corroborate the vague statements which have been incorrectly made to you by the speaker in the course of his opening speech. Nay, it is a curious thing that he spoke of the claim for eight hours from America. Well, but in a journal of which I think my opponent knows something, I find the declaration that the American matter cannot be used at all for that the eight hours cry has “fizzled out” there. That is the language of the Commonweal, and I am bound to assume that at least in some respects, though not in many, these gentlemen know what they are talking about, especially when it tells against them. (Laughter.) Now, in the textile trades it is clear that the reduction means eight and a-half hours per week, and I ask my opponent to state to this assembly what is the average proportion of profit for the last twenty years in the cotton industries. If he says he does not know, he ought to know, and I will ask him whether it is the fact that in five years, ending at the end of 1889, £6,750,000 of capital, invested in the major part by working men and small middle-class men in factories in Oldham conducted under their own supervision, did not average more than 3¾ per cent. I will ask him how much less production you will have by eight and a-half hours less work? (A voice: “That is too much.”) Too much! and a legislator behind me echoes the “too much.” I shall believe some of these men when I find them investing their own moneys in properties at a less rate. (Applause.) At the present moment a man may get idly and with no risk, by putting his money into consolidated stock, 2½ or 2¾ per cent. He can get, on an average, on railway and other substantial securities, something like four per cent; and we are told that he will risk his capital in industries which, though in some cases they bring great profits, always bring great risks, and in many cases enormous loss, and that he will do that for men who say that this eight hours is only the beginning, and give the illustration of the horse working three and a-half hours a day, hoping that you will be asses enough to cheer that – (cheers and laughter) – and reminding you that over and over again it is pretended that some such an amount of labor as three or four hours would be sufficient for the conduct of the industries of this country. I speak here to-night – as I shall show you before I have finished – what large numbers of working men in unions and out of unions have said. I shall not read vague speeches to you, I will give you the exact declarations that they have officially made. Now in the labor returns of Massachusetts, which Labor Bureau was the one which most enticed me to induce the Government to establish a Labor Statistical Department in this country, we have the proportion of wage to cost of production given in a large number of trades. It varies extraordinarily. It varies according to the plenteousness of raw material, and the fashion in which it is used. There is no necessity for me to go into details, for not one has been given on the other side. I ask my opponent whether he has read those statistics, which have been re-published in England? If yes, how he differentiates the cost of production in Massachusetts from the cost of production here. He cannot differentiate it so that it will tell in favor of the proposition he is bound to affirm here. (Cheers.) I now pass to my own proposition. My counter proposition is that it is desirable that all wage earners should work the smallest number of hours per day consistent with the profitable conduct of the industry in which they are respectively engaged. (Hear, hear.) While it is true that eight hours in a quicksilver mine would be absurd and murderous, it is not true that eight hours is too much in every occupation. (Cries of “hear, hear,” and “yes, yes.”) Those of you who think it is (“You try it”), in what position are you? (Interruption.) I have worked for some of you more than eight hours per day, and at any rate the burden of the attempt at decency should be on you in my presence, even if you cannot indulge in it in my absence. I allege that the hours of working in different trades, in different industries, are more or less arduous according to the character of the industry in which the persons are engaged, and that no hard and fast rule can be made which could apply or ought to apply to all industries. My second proposition is that the limitation to eight hours per day as the period during which an industrial establishment may be carried on would be fatal to the large industries. Oh! but, says the speaker, that is an allusion to foreign competition; and he gave a large number of industries which would not be affected by foreign competition. Amongst others he took coal mines, which of all other industries of the world are more affected by foreign competition than any other in the country. They affect the iron industries, they affect the whole metal industry – I say nothing about the export trade in coal; but for a man to tell you that the coal industries of this country have no relation to our ability to put in foreign markets our produce at such a rate as will induce the foreign purchaser to take them from us, is a monstrous proposition, which shows that he has not even studied the question. (Cheers.) My next contention is that the hours of labor in each industry should be severally settled by conciliatory conference between the employers and the employed, or their respective representatives. My opponent says, truly enough, that the Trades Unions only represent the minority of the artisan workers of this country. That is perfectly true; but my proposition is not limited to Trades Unions. I should think it was quite possible, although I am in favor of Trades Unions and always have been all my life; and I consider a great deal of the social improvement of the workers has been due to the action of Trades Unions – (hear, hear) – especially with their thrift provisions. (Hisses.) That gentleman does not like saving; but if my opponent dares to tell you that what he calls industrial anarchy has prevented men from saving, I have every figure taken down here, and will read them, as showing the actual economies of labor. I allege that man and man are more likely to make a fair contract with each other – (laughter and uproar) – if they had the opportunity of making it voluntarily than when they are compelled to it by law. (“No, no.”) No! but you had the law and abandoned it. You say no. I do not wonder at your being ignorant of every proposition I put forward, but I do wonder that you do not give me reasonable opportunity of proving the case which it is my duty to submit to you. I say that the shorter the hours of labor the greater the opportunity for rest, recreation, and education, and I have already put to you my definition of what the life limit of wage should be. Now proposition 2, that is as to the closing of all industrial enterprises going beyond the extent of one shift of eight hours, must be met by my opponent, because he has quoted the Southport case, and the Southport 70,000 men agitated, as William Abrahams of Rhondda expressly agitated, for the one shift of eight hours and eight hours only, and they did it on the ground of limiting the output of this country. I say that the closing of every industrial establishment at the limit of eight hours, if it were in any way justifiable, and I shall submit to you presently that in no way would it be, throws the burden on those who seek to do it by force, of the proof that it can be done, and the industries of the country can still be carried on. The speaker says capital can take care of itself. Unfortunately it can, but the working man cannot; and if you drive our industries to other countries of the world what will happen? There will be more hunger here. The people who talk for revolution may desire that hunger, but I who desire the peace and wellbeing of this country – (hear, hear, and cheers) – and that the progress which has been made during the past fifty years shall be increased and consolidated – I take these propositions, and put upon those who are on the other side the burden of at least giving one fact against me. (Applause.)
THE CHAIRMAN: I will now call on Mr. Hyndman to answer in a quarter of an hour. I really must appeal to the gentlemen in the body of the Hall not to interrupt the speakers, because it only adds to the whole length of the proceedings, and is likely to put out the speakers in argument. It is only fair that both sides should have a complete and proper hearing, and I appeal to all of you, whatever may be your individual opinions, really to give an attentive hearing to the speakers, so that we may conduct this meeting in an orderly and proper way.
Mr. HYNDMAN: Mr. Chairman, Friends, and Fellows Citizens, I am surprised that my opponent should have ventured to state, after having the Bill before him which I drafted at his demand, that I did not deal in any shape or way with Government employments. I will read you the clause: “No person employed under the Crown in the United Kingdom in any department of the public service or in arsenals, small arms factories, dockyards, clothing establishments, or other industrial business, etc., shall, except in case of special unforeseen emergency, be employed for a longer period than eight working hours in any one day, or for more than forty-eight working hours in any one week.” (Applause.) I think it is presuming a little, and therefore I shall not attempt to follow my antagonist here into the personal clap-trap which he has thought fit to introduce. (Cheers and hisses.) I do think it very extraordinary that with that before him at his own demand, he should have presumed – because it was presumption – to have made such a statement as that I had not formulated anything about Government service. Now, he has asked for some facts and figures, and I will give him some. First of all, he states that in a period of depression the mills in Oldham were earning 33/4per cent (Cries of “No, No.”) I say that he stated they were earning but 33/4 per cent. (Cries of “No, No,” “Yes,” “Ridiculous.”) I must ask, Mr. Chairman, for law in this, because it is exactly what Mr. Bradlaugh said.
Mr. BRADLAUGH: I will tell you if you wish it. If the speaker wishes it I will tell him. I said that in the Limited Liability Mills in Oldham, in which working men and small middle-class men have put in their capital, five years’ experience to the end of 1889 gives on the share and loan capital of £6,750,000 a little less than 33/4 per cent.
Mr. HYNDMAN: That is exactly what I said. I will ask you, Mr. Chairman, to stop that gentleman, who cannot interrupt except for the purpose of misstatement. I would ask Mr. Bradlaugh, when he says “Supposing that eight-hour shifts were worked, where is the money to come from to employ these men?,” to study Schedule D of the Income Tax Returns and to study the returns of the banks in Manchester and the banks in Oldham at the very time when this period of depression was going on, because he will find from Mr. Goschen’s statement in the House of Commons – and he will find from the Income Tax Returns – that during the whole period of depression the Income Tax Returns in this country were steadily going up. And what do they amount to? £600,000,000 sterling under Schedule D, and it is calculated that the professional and non-professional classes in this country at the least figure that I have ever seen get £400,000,000 sterling for doing no work at all. Now, I say out of that may come the money – if it is money he wants – to pay the wages. But more than that. During this very period of depression he speaks of, the purchasing power of money had increased from 25 to 30 per cent. through nearly the whole range of commodities. The purchasing power of incomes which had so increased had very largely increased in purchasing power all through. So I say if extra money is needed we know where to go for it. And the banks were paying 15 to 20 per cent. at the very time that the Oldham mills were earning what my opponent stated. And how about the rents during that period? Were not they paid? Did not they come out of the workers in the same way that every other interest and profit does? (Hear, hear.) Therefore, I say that there is absolutely no difficulty whatever in meeting this demand of his for further wages if shifts are worked. Now, personally, I say this. I would not restrict the working shifts to eight hours a day – that is to say, in the cotton industry, if it is necessary to keep mills running. What I am concerned about is that the workers should not be overworked. How long the machinery is worked is a matter of perfect indifference to me. If, however, in the coal trade, workers find it to their interest to restrict the output, then I say that they are at perfect liberty to do that in the same way that they restrict it to the eight hours a day at the present time. But I am accused of stating that the coal trade is not interfered with by foreign competition, I never stated anything of the sort. I said that in large part it was not affected by foreign competition, and I put in those words not only in the speech, but I put them on paper here – “in large part.” Nor is it. Through large districts of this country it is quite impossible for anybody to compete in any shape or way with the English coal: and I say further than that – which Mr. Bradlaugh is perfectly well aware of – at the present time there are many machines that could be introduced for coal-cutting if the opportunity arose and the employers thought it worth their while to do so. They do not do so. For what reason? Because it is cheaper to employ men at the present time than to use those machines. (Hear, hear.) But if the coal mines were worked for the benefit of those who worked in them it would be quite different. As to the output of coals, let me give you a few statistics again. What is the cost of coal when it comes out of the pit’s mouth per ton? What is it at the present time through the mining districts? From 1s. to 2s. per ton. But what is this coal sold at in the market? Why, not at 1s. or 2s., but at 8s. or 9s.; and, when you add to it the various profits that are filched away, it is sold here in London, apart from the cost of transport and the cost of transference from the railway stations to your houses, at a profit of from 8s. to 10s. per ton in many instances and in others 4s, to 5s. I ask, therefore, what is the fact? Do the workers gain any advantage out of these good times of trade – the good times of trade which follow after these bad times of which my opponent has spoken? No, they do not. The amount of percentage which they gain in the rise of their wages is comparatively small as against the large benefit which goes to the capitalist class from the work which they do. (Cheers.) Their wages rise 10 or 15 per cent, but profit rises 20 or 30 and even more per cent, and at this present time out of the work of this country, how much do the workers themselves get if it reduced itself even to this question of wages, which I shall not long dwell upon? Out of the total produce of this country, amounting to £1,300,000,000, some part of which is doubtless counted more than once – the figures are common – they have passed into a by-word since we have sent them through the length and breadth of the land by means of the Social Democratic Federation – the workers receive in wages one-fourth or at the outside one-third. I say, therefore, there is no difficulty whatsoever about protecting your industries, if they are placed under the control of those who have to work them, not for the benefit of a small class, but for the benefit of the whole community who do the work. My opponent says that he is strongly in favor of a curtailment of the hours of labor, and that capital is well able to take care of itself. But the workers are not. (“Quite true.”) That is why we call upon the legislature to interfere upon their behalf. If the workers were able to take very good care of themselves, it would not be necessary for us to appeal to the legislature to protect them in any shape or way. But how can they obtain shorter hours of labor, if the capitalist will not listen to their mild persuasion? – which I do not find by experience that he does. They can only gain it by strikes. Now what is the effect of strikes on the working classes? What is the effect on the men? What is the effect on the women and children? And how many of these strikes succeed? Taking the United States, as to which my friend Herbert Burrows has provided me with these figures: from 1881 to 1887 the employees striking and involved amounted to 1,323,203. Of those 143,000 succeeded partially; 518,000 succeeded wholly; 660,000 failed. Of the strikes for reduced hours, 25 per cent. succeeded; 22 per cent. partly succeeded 53 per cent. failed. Then my opponent quotes from an Anarchist organ that the eight hour movement has “fizzled out.” He knows a great deal more about it than he pretends to know. He knows that that organ from which he quoted has nothing whatever to do with the eight hour movement, but is entirely opposed to it in every shape or way. But at the present time he will be happy to hear that the eight hour movement is progressing in America, and with greater rapidity than ever before, and if he wants to know where to find proof of that, he will find it even in the organs of the capitalist press. (Loud cheers.) Here is a list of strikes in endeavoring to bring pressure to bear upon the capitalist, and in the endeavor peacefully and harmoniously to bring about some arrangement. There were 14,700,759 hours’ work of unsuccessful strikers on this list, and 3,808,642 of successful. Look at the enormous waste that has been brought about in endeavoring to obtain shorter hours of labor. (Applause.) And further, what arises out of these strikes? Riot, as we know perfectly well. In Chicago, in Leeds, and elsewhere, strikes for the reduction of hours of labor, on the principle of some amicable settlement with employers, only produced that which he himself is most opposed to. Very well. My opponent says I have brought forward no argument, no figures. I say that the figures meet you at every point that you touch on the whole circle of production. I contend further that he has not touched in any shape or way or dealt in any form with my argument in relation to the Factory Acts, and how they acted on the industries of this country. The Factory Acts were applied to the very cotton industries which he has been speaking of, and applied to the coal industries, the very industry that he instanced. They were applied to almost every industry in this country; they were not applied rigorously enough. Not one word have we heard in answer to my challenge to show me that between the year 1847 and the year 1871, when the trade of this country was increasing at a greater degree than at any other time – not one word has he said to show that my contention in that respect is not perfectly just. Further than that, at this present moment the demand for the eight hour day is by no means confined to this country. The meeting at Berlin showed that, even although those sent there were representatives practically of the capitalist class; because at this present moment it is felt throughout Europe that the multiplying the power of man – and here again I will give one or two figures: In the boot trade at the present time a man can do twenty-seven times what he could fifty years ago; and in the cotton trade one woman can do something like 100 times more than she could do 100 years ago. At this present time a woman working in a mill in Lancashire is doing more in eight hours than she was doing in twelve hours work before the Factory Acts were introduced. I say therefore that it is an entire delusion on my opponent’s part to imagine that we are not perfectly acquainted with the details of these various trades. We understand them perfectly well. We know perfectly well for example that in the railway service the imposition of eight hours a day would cost the shareholders probably at first 1/2 per cent. It is very probable it would. But how much do the shareholders get at this minute out of the product of these railways? They get £33,000,000 sterling out of a total of 170,000,000 of the gross earnings, and we can take the Eight Hour Bill out of that. (Cheers.)
Mr. BRADLAUGH: I invite my opponent when he rises again, to quote precisely the words from the report of the International Labor Conference at Berlin which he misstated to you just now. (Hear, hear.) There are no such words. There is no such general statement, there is not even sufficient of intermediate statement to justify the construction which he put upon the proceedings of the Berlin Conference. (Cheers.) Possibly because I did not make myself clear, although in the correction I tried to do it, my opponent said that I quoted in the cotton industry a period of depression. I quoted the five years ending with 1889. Does he mean to tell this audience that he suggests that the years 1887-8-9 can by any stretch of imagination be described as periods of depression. He said he would give the figures, but he did nothing of the kind. He did not touch a single textile industry. He made some general assertion about the amount on which income tax was levied, and added some vague allegations as to the proportion of wage to that, but the burden is upon him to adduce precise facts. With reference to the 800,000 odd persons employed in the textile industries, and the more than half a million employed in mines, the burden is upon him to show that those figures have relation specifically to those industries. The amount of rent received by somebody else, the amount of interest received by some bank, large or small, might not have, and I say has not the slightest bearing in enabling you to answer the questions that I put. Then I did not say that the speaker had said nothing about Government factories. (“Oh!”) What I did say was, and the report will show it when it is printed – (hear, hear) – that his Bill and his proposition conflicted, that the proposition only applied to adults, while the Bill applied to everybody; that his proposition only applied to businesses conducted for profit, and therefore could not apply to Government work which was dealt with by the Bill. Of course that may be an incorrect view of mine, but that was the view I took, and that was not the statement which appeared in the caricature presented of my words. (Laughter.) The speaker says if the workers wish to limit the output “let them” and you cheered him – (hear, hear) – but if the workers do not wish to limit the output may you make them? That is quite a different thing. (Cheers.) Some worker may desire to see his children better clad and better fed, with opportunities for more enjoyment – (hear, hear) – and he may specially exert himself, while he thinks he is well and strong, to make provision for the future and to exercise that thrift which is so much sneered at. (Cheers.) (A voice: “Thrift on 18 bob a week? Bosh!”) Yes, thrift is bosh in the words of those who are opposing me, but it is the life and soul of our country, it is that which made it what it is. (Cheers and great uproar.) It is no business of mine to argue in favor of strikes; I have always tried to prevent them, which is more than my opponent can say – (more interruption) – I refuse to be drifted away from the subject I have to deal with to discuss either strikes or the operation of Acts of Parliament, which are not the same in any respect as those which my opponent proposes to enact, and I submit this as against the regulation of the hours of labor by law that parliament ought not to limit the freedom of the individual – (“Oh, oh!”) – except in acts injurious to the life, health, or property of other individuals. That the function of the legislature and of the executive authorised by the legislature should be the protection of each individual against the criminal acts of other individuals and the protection of all citizens against foreign enemies – (hear, hear) – and I say that whenever the legislature has tried, as it did three hundred years ago, to interfere as to how men should work, and when they should work, and as to the hours and methods of their work, that equally the employers in whose interest the Acts were then passed, and the employed, helped to evade them. And I urge upon you that it would be impossible to suppose that you can interfere with the industries which the people exercise at home. I will read you what has been said upon this by working men themselves. My opponent talks of mines as though the mining industry was the same in all parts of England. It is nothing of the kind. In hard veins and in soft veins, in deep pits with long workings away from the shaft, and pits with workings near the shaft, differences arise in which, if you made an eight hours standard, you might very easily do the most fearful injustice – (laughter and interruption) – as the worker is paid by weight. In Durham at the present moment the county average is about 41/2 days a week, or about 27 hours, giving 7 hours and a quarter work from surface to surface. From the surface to the working place it takes an average of about 25 minutes. The hours in Northumberland and Durham are, I think, almost uniform. The fore-shift men descend at a particular hour, and 6 hours and a half afterwards the men, their partners of the next shift, descend to relieve them; but I will give you one exceptional instance and I want to know how an eight hour law will work in a place like that. Take the Byron Colliery in Northumberland. The workings in this colliery extend three miles, and if you were to limit the men and say they should not work except under some Act of Parliament, which may suit some other colliery very well, you may do in fact an injury to these men in limiting their earnings which is fearful to contemplate – (cheers and laughter) – and what do the Northumberland miners themselves say? I understood my opponent to say that he is not contending for one shift of eight hours a day; then, if he is not, he has deceived you in quoting the miners in his opening, because except Northumberland and Durham, they are all or nearly all agitating for it on the one shift a day. There are some collieries in Yorkshire I will exempt. What did the Northumberland miners on the 28th of January of this year by resolution of their delegates, since confirmed by a vote of the whole county, say? They say: “an absolute and uniform eight hours single shift for all classes of workmen was considered, and we found that it would be utterly impracticable for this county; it would necessarily mean an extension of hours to all the hewers, and it would certainly mean the discharge of some thousands of workmen.” I let the workmen speak for themselves. (Cheers.) Mr. Hyndman says that the Social Democratic Federation – (a voice: “Good luck to them”) – speaks for the industry of this country. If his statement is evidence of his allegation, I cannot do otherwise than say it is not so, and leave you to judge by the declarations of the working men themselves that I will read to you. Now what first do the workmen understand of this? Do they understand first there must be no freedom anywhere? (“Yes.”) Do they understand that every man who works by piece will be paid so much less. (A voice: “We don’t want it.”) You say you do not want it; in many places you begged for it, and have gone back to it. Now what do the Trade Unions themselves say? I hold in my hand the returns to the Labor Statistic Department from 104 Trade Unions. It is not the return of one-third of the whole of them, but it is the return of the largest, and out of 104 how many do you think expressed any opinion about eight hours at all? Only four – (laughter) – and how many of those four do you think are in favor of it? None of them. (Cheers.) I will read to you from only one. I will read from the others when my opponent has answered that. It says: “The fixing of working hours by Act of Parliament is being forced to the front from different quarters with a persistency which speaks well for the courage of its advocates, but which will be certainly opposed by the majority of bonā fide Trade Unionists.” (A voice: “A lie.”) You say a lie, but these Trade Unionists say it is true. (Cheers and uproar.) They point out in this, which is their language, and not mine – (“Paid agents.”) If you talk about paid agents what about the dock strike? (Cheers and uproar.) I am only dealing here with the matters alleged against me; there can be no personality when I am told that these honest men are paid agents in turning the tables on those who allege it. What do these men say? They say: “The time was when our forefathers toiled unlimited hours, but they did not appeal to the State to reduce them.” (A voice: “They did.”) They did not; you probably never read as to what happened before you were born, but I have. They did not appeal to the State to reduce them, “they entered into combination with each other and paid liberal contributions out of their limited earnings, and then when the opportunity afforded itself they fought tenaciously for decreased hours”; and more has been got by voluntary and conciliatory combination than is got by any attempt at strike. Why the textile men of Oldham sent me this morning an agreement for holidays that they made with their employers by mutual consent, and they begged me to read it to this meeting to show how an Act of Parliament might prevent such an agreement as that. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers, with 53,740 men then returned (there are more now), declared against it. (“No.”) No! but they say they do. (Cries of “Order” and interruption). Mr. Chapman, Mr. Kelly, and Mr. Heasleden at the Bradford Conference (and if it be denied will read it) pointed out that thousands of men in these trades worked in their own homes; and I ask you, are you going to allow the police spies to come into your home and say how long you shall work? (“No, no.”) Are you going to drive industries out of healthy factories, into which there is a tendency to take them, in the boot trade at any rate, into homes where there will be unhealthy working? At the Dundee Congress a speech was made by Mr. Mosses which I wish my time permitted me to read to this meeting. Mr. Parkinson on behalf of the engineers, Mr. Knight on behalf of the boilermakers, all of them show how every attempt by legislation to interfere with their hours of working had been a failure in the past, and they protested against the demoralisation and destruction of their self-reliance which would come from any attempt in the present. I beg you in the last speech of my opponent not to let any expression of dissent interrupt him, for we are getting warm; at least let the half-hour pass, for to me it is a greater trial than I dreamed of when I commenced it, and I desire to deal with it as fairly as strength will permit. (Cheers.)
Mr. HYNDMAN: Mr. Chairman, it will be observed that my opponent has throughout spoken as if I were advocating a hard and fast line of an eight hour day. (“Oh.”) What I have advocated, and what I advocate now, is, that no one should work more than an eight hour day. Does not my opponent know the meaning of the word “maximum"? Is he not perfectly well aware that anybody can work as much less as he can get. He must be perfectly well aware of it, and therefore I ask you not to allow yourselves to be influenced by the greater part of his last speech at all – (laughter) – because it was based upon a complete mis-statement from first to last. But now what has he been talking about? About the number of miners. The Northumberland and Durham miners constitute but 73,600 out of a total number of 603,000 miners working in this country, as my friend, Mr. Cuninghame-Graham has just informed me. I knew it before, but I am very much obliged to him for bringing me the figures. Again, he says, there are about four men who are in favor of this (a voice: “Unions”) and he reads them to you. Now at the Congress of Dundee, nineteen solid trades voted for the eight hour Bill – (cheers) – and at Jolimont, only a few weeks ago, the organised miners of this country and the continent, as miners, voted solid for an Eight Hour Bill, and Mr. Burt himself, who has delivered a speech against it, did not hold up his hand against the resolution. So that as far as regards these figures it is not the case, as has been alleged by my opponent, that the miners of Northumberland and Durham represent the miners of England in any shape or way, and even at Jolimont many of them voted, as I am informed, for a compulsory eight hour day. But now he has stated further that some workings are three miles underground. But remember a man is underground when he is going to and from his work, and we calculate it on that basis, that the man who is under ground is practically at work. (Hear.) But he says with that appeal to the instinct of the profit-monger, which is represented by thrift, “Look at the thriftiness of the English working man; look at what he ought to save and lay by; let him argue with his employer, let him save, and thus let him gain.” But he goes further, and says, Parliament has only interfered to protect the property, life, and health of the individual. That is precisely what we are asking it to do here tonight. (Hear, hear.) But what is the sole property that a working man as a rule has? His labor; and it is that we are endeavoring to protect. Then he turns to the man who has been out of work and says he is to work overtime, perhaps half fed, in order to make up the period. For whom? For the capitalist’s benefit, not for his own. (Hear, hear.) In the overtime and overwork, for every stroke that he does it is three for the capitalist and one for himself. We desire to limit seriously this power of robbery; to interfere by the State on behalf of the labor of the people, and the health of the people, and the life of the people, by restricting those hours of labor. I say that my opponent has in no wise shown that an eight hour day in the Government establishments, in the railways, in the tramways and the omnibuses or in the bakehouses, which practically are non-competitive industries with foreign countries – he has entirely failed to show that an Eight Hour Law, as far as they are concerned, would not be beneficial to every man and woman working in them. (Applause.) He has never touched in any shape or way the unemployed difficulty. He has never touched it in any manner at all. He has never dealt with this question of industrial anarchy. And yet what do we find? At this very time those who are watching the business of this country can plainly see that we are approaching another period of industrial distress and trouble. What shall we see then? Hundreds and thousands of men out of work. There are more than 20,000 persons, according to official information, adult men, out of work in London to-day. There were at the last period of depression 200,000. Why? Because the capitalist class in this country would not allow them to work except at a profit, and at that very period when those men were out of work there were others working thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen hours a day. How is it, Mr. Chairman, and how is it, Friends and Fellow-Citizens, that my opponent, who is ready to meet any clap-trap remark – or any other remark that may be made from the audience – does not deal with these facts which I allege here on this platform? He said the engineers are not in favor of the eight-hour day. Whether they are or not does not affect the facts or go to the root of the argument we are putting on this platform; but I contend they are in favor of the eight-hour day. There are engineers in this hall who know that perfectly well, and the next Trade Union Congress will show that it is so. What we are arguing here is both matter of principle and matter of detail. I wanted to separate the two. I wanted to argue the principle first and the detail afterwards, but it is my opponent’s fault for trying to put a quart into a pint pot. But let us see the position as it stands to-day. We do not contend – those whom I represent here on this platform do not contend – that an Eight-Hour Bill is a solution of the social question. We say that it is merely a palliative of the evils of our present condition. We say that to put 200,000 or 300,000 more men into work at the present time would greatly enhance the well-being of, and give a greater outlet to the commodities produced by, the workers of this country. We contend that at the present time there are thousands of women, about whom my opponent has not said one single word, who are being over-worked, and have no chance of convincing their employers, either by combination or in any other way, for whom he seems not to have the slightest inclination to move hand or foot. (Cheers.) Those adults are worthy of consideration, but he does not pay any attention to them. I say, further, whatever he may state about the Berlin Conference, that the Berlin Conference was held altogether in consequence and because of the movement for an eight-hour day and of Socialism. There was but one Socialist there, but that man voiced the aspirations of multitudes of the people. I never claimed that the Social Democratic Federation represents the majority of the workers of this country. It does not to-day, but it will. But, again, I repeat we do not contend as Social Democrats that an Eight-Hour Bill, beneficial as it would be to men and women and to every worker in this country, would do all that was required. My arguments here have not been met in any shape or way. (Cheers and interruption.) These various statistics that my opponent has threatened to bring forth, those various ideas he has laid before you of thrift, and the benefit derived from our ancestors and what not, I say have nothing to do with the Bill he caused me to formulate, not one clause of which has he dealt with here to-night. Why did he call upon me to formulate an Eight Hours’ Bill when he has never dealt with one single clause of it? Why is it he was so anxious for detail when he has not brought forward a single detail to deal with those principles I have laid before you? (“Oh!”) I say he has not. There is not one of them that touches the bases of the principles I have laid before you – not one – not one single one; and as he refers to the verbatim report, so I refer you to the verbatim report, to see how he will come out of this argument on the Eight Hours’ Bill. What we are working for is for a reduction of the hours of labor in order for what? Let us after all get away for a moment, if we can, from the mere question of Bradlaugh and Hyndman, or the mere question as to this Bill or that, and let us consider for one moment what it is that we all – all here – ought to endeavor to obtain. Surely it cannot but be admitted that there are thousands and tens of thousands and millions of people in this country who are working away their very life’s blood to-day for the benefit of a class. Surely my opponent cannot deny that at this very hour there are people working 16 hours a day – far more than it is well that any man should do, no matter how profitable it may be to another. Can he deny that one of the great difficulties in dealing with the question at this moment is that the workers have not time to consider the problems around them, and the political disabilities under which they lie? Mr. Chairman, I contend that throughout the arguments here I have gone upon the basis of fact, and that my theories and principles are sound; but assuming them not to be – let us assume for the moment that he has gained here – which he has not – (cries of “Yes,” and “No,”) – then I say still that we are championing a cause which, though it be but a palliative, still may accelerate the emancipation of the workers. I say throughout this great England of ours, which is a capitalist-ridden country to-day – the House of Commons in which he sits is nothing but representative of the landlord and capitalist class. (Cheers and interruption.) I say, Mr. Chairman, that at any rate, as the representative of the Revolutionary Social Democratic party on this platform, not only of England, but of all the civilised world, we are working for more than an Eight Hours’ Bill. We are working for a palliative to-day, but we are working for the complete ownership of the means and instruments of production, and we tell our opponent here that our sole object in bringing forward this Eight Hours’ measure is to produce in a peaceful, organised and decent manner that which otherwise cannot but come about with bloodshed and anarchy. (Loud applause.)
[Mr. Bradlaugh, on rising for the last time, was received with a storm of intermingled cheers and groans, two red flags being waved, and the Chairman had to intervene.]
The CHAIRMAN: We have so far, I am glad to state, been enabled to conduct our proceedings decently and in order, and I trust you will keep up the fair name of this meeting of working men by helping order to the end.
Mr. BRADLAUGH: I will venture to recall to you the last words almost that were spoken by my opponent. He says that Parliament only represents the landlords – (a cry: “Thieves!”) – capitalists, and persons of that kind, and yet it is to that Parliament that he is asking working men to appeal to make laws regulating their labor. If Parliament be such a vile institution, then working men least of all should entrust to it the power of regulating the condition of labor, which, if it means anything at all, would mean equally lengthening the hours and reducing the wage as well as shortening the hours. (Cheers.) The words my opponent professed to quote from the Berlin Conference have not yet been given.
Mr. HYNDMAN: I rise to order. I never professed to quote any words at all.
Mr. BRADLAUGH: The reference made by my opponent to the Berlin Conference as being in favor of the eight hours’ movement has been in no shape vouched by evidence, because it could not be.
Mr. HYNDMAN: I did not say so. (A Voice: “Sit down.”)
Mr. BRADLAUGH: I can quite understand that but little mercy will be given to me in this speech so far as my opponent and those who support him are concerned, but I shall talk to the end of my time at any rate. (Cheers.) He said, which was equally inaccurate, that the delegate, or some of the delegates, of the Northumberland and Durham Miners at Jolimont voted for the compulsory Eight Hours’ movement. That was spoken either upon misinformation – and my opponent ought not to have come here without being well informed upon it – (hear, hear) – or his memory has betrayed him, or his sense of what is exact was not complete. There has been no attempt to deal with the particulars of production on reduced hours in textile fabrics, In proof of which I gave figures, (A Voice: “What about the railways?”) I have always proposed that those who have monopolies of railways in this country, and who work their employees to an extent which is perilous to life and limb, shall be punishable by law for that. (Cheers.) The speaker was good enough to tell you that I never stirred hand or foot for women. (“Shame!”) If it had been true, it would have been nothing in favor of his proposition. It would only have shown that I did not always keep my promises. (Mr. Cunninghame Graham, M.P.: “Hear, hear.”) But, curiously, while the legislator who says “hear, hear,” behind me has been perfectly silent on this in the House, on two occasions recently I have applied to the Government to employ women in Government departments, for which they were fitted. I know I am subjected to considerable abuse, especially by those who know nothing whatever of what I do. (Hear, hear.) Then we are told that when men work one proportion is for themselves and three for the capitalist. (Hear, hear.) But bare assertion is no proof, and there has not been any attempt at proof. There was an opportunity of showing that, in connexion with the eight and a-half hours reduction in the textile trade. (Uproar.) Repeating nonsense of this kind until you induce working men to strike is a criminal act. (Applause.) Saying it on a platform, where it can be contradicted at once and where it will remain in print, is a foolish and absurd thing. My opponent says that I have said nothing about the unemployed. (Hear, hear.) That has not been my fault. It has been the fault of the minutes at my service. As he desires, I will deal with that which I have repeatedly dealt with in the articles which I have written on the subject. Are your unemployed in the particular trades in which you are going to reduce the hours of labor? I agree that in large aggregations of population you get enormous numbers of people, some unthrifty (laughter) – some unfortunately sick and unable, some only able to follow casual employments; but I deny that making men work shorter hours of labor in skilled industries would afford employment for these men. It would do nothing of the kind. (Hear, hear.) If you are going to shorten the hours of skilled artisan labor before you can put this mass of the unemployed into it, you must show that they are fit for the employment you choose to give them. (Hear, hear, and cheers.) Again, if it be true as my opponent said in his last speech, that hundreds and thousands of unemployed would find employment where they are now starving, it can only be by increasing the cost of production or by reducing the wage of those who are already employed. (“No, no.”) One of two things it must be. You say “No,” but one thing must be true: either you pay both and then it costs more – (“No, no.”) – Well, I can understand that with you two shillings is not twice one shilling: but then I am only addressing myself to working men who have brains, not to Revolutionary Social Democrats. (“What about 30 per cent?”) I am told that an enormous number of men are out of work in London; and that is true, and it is one of the great evils of modern times – one which no legislation can cope with; that in this huge hive, part of industry and part of misery, and somewhat of crime, you get the extremes of poverty and the extremes of wealth so close to one another that when the storm-cloud passes the lightning flashes more here than elsewhere; but it is not fair to measure the industries of England by the casual population of London. It is not fair to measure our mines by Northumberland and Durham, and the speaker said that they only represented something over 70,000, and that the remainder, he said 600,000, were the other way; but he did not venture to answer my point that all these miners who are the other way were chiefly so for the one-shift system and the reduction of output. If he had ventured to answer it I would have road page after page which I have here. My difficulty is that with the burden of proof on him we have had nothing but the fizz of the champagne – (hear, hear, and interruption) – of what revolution is going to do. Instead of that there should have been an endeavor to prove that the legal enactment of eight hours per day for all adults in all industries would affect and improve the well-being of the people throughout the country. There is no shadow of attempt to prove it. He speaks loosely of the price of food, and all kind of vague things about the increase of the purchasing power of gold, but not one word of the application of it to any one of the great industries large statements have been made about the unemployed, but there are less unemployed than there were. How do you make out your industrial anarchy? In the great centres where men strive for life with great desperation, and where they are pushed under over and over again in the struggle by their fellows, there is much misery and hunger; but do not believe that an Act of Parliament can make bread spring out of the ground into an empty cupboard – (cheers) – do not believe that it will clothe the ragged, or educate the ignorant, and still less believe in the men who appeal to revolution, and who instead of occupying their time with the dry proof of details which were needed for the proposition talk about the Social Democratic Federation. Does Europe go for the Eight Hours system? Why even the longer hours in France, as fixed by law, have been exceeded by the men themselves. In what country is there an eight hours law? In none in the world where it is obeyed. (“Oh!”) You say “Oh,” but I have the facts here, and your advocate has only been silent on these matters of fact because in each case I was prepared to prove them. I pray your pardon if, in any hasty response, I have been offensive to any, but my tongue is now getting too old to flatter, it never did so and it never shall. What I deem to be right, here, and in the House of Commons as long as my constituents trust me, I will affirm. (Cheers.)
Mr. HYNDMAN: I rise here, and have a very pleasing duty to perform which those who are making obstruction should be the first to listen to. I have to propose a vote of thanks to our chairman. I do not know whether our chairman agrees with me or with Mr. Bradlaugh. I do not know whether he will support our Eight Hours Bill when it is brought into the House of Commons, or whether he will not; but I will say this, that nothing can be fairer, nothing more truly courteous than our Chairman’s conduct here to-night, and I have the greatest pleasure in moving a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Sydney Buxton for his conduct in the chair.
Mr. BRADLAUGH: I beg to second that vote; you that are in favor of it hold up your hands. It is unanimously voted.
The CHAIRMAN: I thank you very heartily for the kind way in which you have attended to your chairman this evening. There may have been a little natural excitement at some times, but I think on the whole we have had most satisfactory order.
1. This Act may be cited as the Eight Hours of Labor Act, 1890.
2. This Act shall come into operation on the first day of January, 1891.
3. In all contracts for the hire of labor or the employment of personal service in any capacity whatever, a day shall be deemed to mean a period not exceeding eight working hours, and a week shall be deemed to mean a maximum period of forty-eight working hours.
4. No person employed under the Crown in the United Kingdom, in any department of the public service, or in any Arsenal, Small Arms Factory, Dockyard, Clothing Establishment, or other industrial business, or by any County Council, Municipal Corporation, Vestry, Local Sanitary Authority, School Board, Guardians of the Poor, Dock or Harbor Trustees, District Council, Improvement Commissioners, Commissioners of Police, Commissioners of Sewers, of Public Libraries, or Baths and Washhouses, or by any other Public Administrative Authority, shall, except in case of special unforeseen emergency, be employed for a longer period than eight working hours in any one day, or for more than forty-eight working hours in any one week.
Any public officer or public functionary ordering or requiring any person in public employment to remain at work for a period in excess of eight working hours in any one day, or forty-eight hours in any one week, except in case of special unforeseen emergency, shall be liable to a fine of not less than fifty pounds for each such contravention of the provisions of this section, on conviction thereof; and one half of all fines so imposed shall be paid over without any deduction whatsoever, to the person or persons directly or indirectly affected by such contravention, whose action and evidence shall be the means of bringing home such offence to the perpetrator.
5. No person shall be employed by any Railway Company for a longer period than eight working hours in any one day, or forty-eight working hours in any one week, except in case of special unforeseen emergency.
The general manager of any railway company employing, or permitting to be employed, any person in contravention of this section shall be liable on conviction thereof to a fine of not less than fifty pounds for each such contravention, and one half of all fines so imposed shall be paid over without any deduction whatsoever to the person or persons directly or indirectly affected whose action and evidence shall be the means of bringing home such offence to the perpetrator.
6. No person shall be employed on any line of tramways, omnibuses, cars, wagons or vehicles used for the transportation of goods or persons, except in case of special unforeseen emergency, for a longer period than eight working hours in any one day or forty-eight working hours in any one week.
The general manager or manager of any company or firm, or any firm, or any individual employed, employing, or permitting to be employed any person in contravention of this section shall be liable on conviction thereof to a fine of not loss than fifty pounds for each such contravention and one half of all fines so imposed shall be paid over without any deduction whatsoever to the person or persons directly or indirectly affected whose action and evidence shall be the moans of bringing home such offence to the perpetrator.
7. No person shall be employed underground for hire in any mine for a longer period than eight working hours in any one day or more than forty-eight working hours in any one week except in case of special unforeseen emergency.
The period of employment under ground in a mine shall for the purpose of this section be deemed to be the whole period from the time of leaving the surface of the ground to descend the mine to the time of return to the surface of the ground after cessation of work.
The manager of any mine employing or permitting to be employed any person in contravention of this section shall be liable on conviction thereof to a fine of not less than one hundred pounds for each such contravention, and one-half of all fines so imposed shall be paid over without any deduction whatsoever to the person or persons directly or indirectly affected whose action and evidence shall be the means of bringing home the offence to the perpetrator.
8. No person shall be employed in any factories, workshops, laundries or other industrial businesses conducted for profit for a longer period than eight working hours in any one day or forty-eight working hours in any one week except in case of special unforeseen emergency.
Any employer or manager employing or permitting to be employed any person in contravention of this section shall on conviction be liable to a fine of not less than fifty pounds for each such contravention, and one-half of all fines so imposed shall be paid over without any deduction whatsoever to the person or persons directly or indirectly affected whose action and evidence shall be the means of bringing home such offence to the perpetrator.
9. No person shall be employed to serve behind the counter or elsewhere in shops, co-operative stores, or magazines, or warehouses for the sale of goods by retail or otherwise, or shall be employed to serve behind bars to sell intoxicating or other drinks or to purvey food or other refreshments for a longer period than eight working hours in any one day or forty-eight working hours in any one week, except in case of special unforeseen emergency.
Any employer or manager employing or permitting to be employed any person in contravention of this section shall on conviction thereof be liable to a fine of not less than fifty pounds for each such contravention, and one-half of all fines so imposed shall be paid over without any deduction whatsoever to the person or persons directly or indirectly affected, whose action and evidence shall be the means of bringing home such offence to the perpetrator.
10. No domestic servant shall be employed in any club or in any hotel, lodging house, house or flat let in apartments, or other place in which accommodation or food is provided for payment, for more than eight working hours in any one day or more than forty-eight working hours in any one week, except in case of special unforeseen emergency.
Any employer, steward, or manager employing and permitting to be employed any person in contravention of this section shall on conviction be liable to a fine of not less than fifty pounds for each such contravention, and one-half of all fines so imposed shall be paid without any deduction whatsoever to the person or persons directly or indirectly affected, whose action and evidence shall be the means of bringing home such offence to the perpetrator.
11. No person shall be employed in agricultural labor for hire for a longer period than eight working hours in any one day or more than forty-eight working hours in any one week, except in case of special unforeseen emergency.
Any farmer, fruit or flower grower, market gardener, or other agriculturist employing or causing to be employed any person in contravention of this section shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than fifty pounds for each such contravention, and one-half of all fines so imposed shall be paid over without any deduction whatsoever to the person or persons directly or indirectly affected, whose action and evidence shall be the means of bringing home such offence to the perpetrator.
12. In the cases of special unforeseen emergency referred to in the above sections arising, each person who shall by reason of such emergency work beyond the period of eight working hours a day or forty-eight working hours a week therein enacted shall be entitled to receive and shall receive from the individual, firm, or company employing him double the rate of wages per hour that has been paid during the normal working period for each hour of such overtime so worked, notwithstanding any stipulation or contract implied or expressed to the contrary.
1.The words omitted should be, “would leave reasonable profit to the capital and personal enterprise required.”