WOMEN IN FACTORIES.
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE `` SPECTATOR:]
Sin,—Is it not better that all workers of both seies should be trained to help themselves rather than to seek protection from Parliament? I believe Trade Unions to be useful and necessary, and I should be glad to see the hours of labour for all in factories reduced to nine. But the Trade Unions have consistently ex- cluded women from their organisations, and when Mr. Auberon Herbert advocated a contrary policy at the Leeds Trades' Con- gress, he stood alone. After this, Parliament ought surely not to lend itself to assisting them to reduce their hours by obtaining legal restrictions on the labour of fellow-operatives whom they have refused to allow the chance of helping themselves. To grant the request will be a cruel kindness to the working-classes them- selves, who, in seeking for further restrictions on the labour of women, are developing into a source of weakness in their midst what might be a source of strength.
You remark that all this tends to the repeal of the existing Factory Acts. So far as women's labour is concerned, that is true. And if the workmen had pursued a less aristocratic or oligarchic policy, I firmly believe that instead of discussing pro- posals for such interference with the labour of adults, we should now be doing away with the interference which already exists.
If it were worth while to bandy epithets " cold-blooded economists" might retort with "foolish philanthropists." The persons who propose to prevent a wife from supporting herself do not propose to give her power to make her husband support her.—