18 FEBRUARY 1893, Page 23

Coal - Pits and Pitmen. By R. Nelson Boyd. (Whittaker and Co.)—This

is a most excellent history of the coal trade and coal legislation, succinct, clear, and readable, in the compass of a little over two hundred pages. The condition of the miners up to, or very nearly up to, the time of Lord Shaftesbury's interference, is scarcely credible, and what does seem incredible was the attitude taken by the mine-owners, headed by the then Lord Londonderry. The gradual rise in the importance of the mineral as a fuel is interesting, and one would have liked to have known more about the earlier prices. The book seems to us very just, and the whole question is ably discussed, including the latest movement in re- gard to pensions. How old-age pensions will affect the tenour and working effectiveness of a labourer's life is a hard problem to solve.