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By W. COOKE TAYLOR, LL.D., &c.,
OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN ;
AUTHOR OF "THE NATURAL HISTORY OF SOCIETY,
ROMANTIC BIOGRAPHY OF THE
SECOND EDITION; WITH TWO ADDITIONAL LETTERS ON
THE RECENT DISTURBANCES.
It has long been my purpose to write a description of the Factory System, as I had good reason to believe that its moral worth and social importance were generally misunderstood, and, therefore, not appreciated. A life spent in retirement, and devoted to literature, so far qualified me for the task as to leave me free from prejudices of party: I set out with a determination to see and judge for myself; I repeated my visits to the manufacturing districts for the purpose of testing the accuracy of my former observations. It was my custom on these little tours to send brief accounts of what I saw to the venerated Prelate to whom these printed Letters are addressed. In my recent tour I saw too much to allow of my adherence to my old plan, and I am induced to believe that what I saw must at this crisis possess general interest.
In preparing my notes for the press I have followed the plan which I would have adopted had I designed these Letters to be private. I
have written them up just as they came, and as they were jotted down, believing that the vividness of first impressions and the point of immediate reflections would atone for abruptness of transition and a little occasional digression.
In going over so much ground in a short space of time, it is probable that I may have sometimes adopted hasty conclusions; but of this my readers will be able to judge, as I have set before them the reasons and evidence on which my inferences were founded. My sole anxiety was to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and my dearest wish is that, on the various important questions connected with the manufacturing districts of the North of England, “ a true verdict” may be given, “according to the evidence,” by the government and the country.
I have only to add that the Archbishop of Dublin is not responsible for any opinions contained in these Letters, as he will see their contents for the first time on their appearance in print.
34, Arlington-street, Camden Town,
ADVERTISEMENT TO SECOND EDITION.
GRATIFIED, as I naturally have been, by the favourable notice which this little volume has received from the leading public journals of almost every political party, I found intermingled with the praise some objections to my statements and reasonings which seemed entitled to my respectful attention. At the same time, the great movement in the manufacturing districts had afforded the strongest confirmation to the general correctness of my views; and under these circumstances I resolved to make a second tour through the cotton localities, to examine the moral bearing of the operatives, and the actual working of the factory system, under circumstances of peculiar difficulty. Though firmly convinced that factories are not evil in themselves, I am well aware that they may be so ill conducted as to produce much evil; and that cases may arise, as in the instance of infant labour, to render an authoritative interference between the employer and the employed desirable, if not necessary. My inquiries were chiefly directed to ascertaining whether the present dispute respecting wages created any ne