31 AUGUST 1867, Page 2

Mr. John Orwell Phillips, Secretary to the Chartered Gas Com-

pany, and advocate-general for gas-makers, denies that the stokers are oppressed men. He says the men get 34s. 6d. a week—which nobody ever denied ; that though the nominal stint is twelve hours a day seven days in the week, the real one is eleven hours— just two too much ; that the Companies give medical advice, superannuation allowances, and books—for all which the men say they pay ; and, finally, that the men are " brawny, good- humoured giants "—which we can quite believe. So are dray- men, but dray-driving is not a conspicuously healthy trade, nevertheless. Mr. Phillips also says the men are under fire only half their time, and the heat is grossly exaggerated. This is all very well, but Mr. Phillips misses the real point. Is it, or is it not, inhumane to keep men, whether good- humoured giants or ill-humoured dwarfs, at work on hard labour in exceptionally hot rooms all day every day throughout the year ? A very large proportion of the shareholders are clergy- men and women, and they have now a fair opportunity of proving the sincerity of their Sabbatarian convictions. Will they risk for them a quarter per cent. of their dividend? We have a better opinion of human nature than Mr. Phillips, and think they will.