17 FEBRUARY 1855, Page 13


1, Adam Street, Adetphi, 14th February 1855. Sin—In answer to Mr. Hugh Mason respecting the wages of cotton- workers here and in America, I beg to say, that I took my data from the Journal of the Society of Arts and Mr. Wallis's Report on the Lowell Fac- tories. I do not consider the cotton trade indigenous in the Northern States of the American Union, but think it might become so in the Southern States where the cotton is produced, and Negro fingers could as well work it as cultivate it. The really indigenous country for cotton manufactures will be Eastern India, from whence they first came to England ; where workers at 3d. per diem in Indian mills must eventually beat in competition English and American and Continental mills : and if the wages be so good in Eng- land as Mr. Mason intimates, the less will be the chance, even though de- mand in India should raise wages to 12d. per diem, and the race of men get to be at a premium there. I do not believe that the exodus of the cotton manufacture would be an evil to England, coming about, as it will do gra- dually. Capital will, of course, go where it can get the best interest; but the cotton-mills of Lancashire are not moveable capital, and will not be "re- moved to the States." They will be worn out in work, as is the case now ; but will not be renewed if not wanted. Mr. Mason intimates that the condition of cotton workpeople is improving—" that workers are scarce and wages advancing." I can rejoice at this for the workmen's sake ; but surely Mr. Mason must see that all this makes against the continuance of the cotton manufacture in the West while an abundance of cheaper hands are found in the East.

Mr. G. Macgregor says that "the recruiting-sergeant visits the cotton-

factory." I might ask, if from them are procured the recruits so unseasoned that they die in numbers so soon after landing in the Crimea ? Let me not be understood to reproach any of my countrymen as lacking bravery. They may "bear no feeble mind,' but if they lack force of body it will be a loss to the community. Mr. Macgregor asks, "what the thousands of his countrymen would have done had there been no cotton-spinning ? " I may answer—Probably working some years sooner at the "black band" and the "coal seams," and hastening the railway advent.

In conclusion, I must rejoice that my words have been the means of elicit-

ing from these gentlemen their repudiation of the suicidal policy of Messrs. Cobden and Bright. The former gentleman assumes, in his speech, that in case of civil war Manchester would lick London, Leeds, and Liverpool, and any other three cities thrown in. Not in goodtaste certainly, this bidding for local suffrage by reviving the municipal rivalry of the darker ages, and especially in one professing to be a cosmopolite : therefore it is satisfactory to hear from Mr. Mason that nine-tenths of Manchester see through him.