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Mr. Rupert Kettle, "to go to the city of Coventry for the purpose of establishing the arbitration system there, and I found that if the men had perfect freedom and the masters had perfect freedom, and the dominant and servile position was entirely disregarded, and they met upon equal terms, it was just as easy to bring men to business as at Wolverhampton.'

We may well look back to the beginning of this long struggle by labour to achieve freedom, and compare the condition of the working classes in the past to that of workmen in the best modern employment, where each man's freedom is assured, and the fullest respect paid to the worth and dignity of labour. Such a contrast is no less than that between the slave and the free citizen. The independence of the working classes does not constitute the industrial progress, but it is a prime factor in that progress. The obstinate refusal to acknowledge and accept this fact can only bring about in the future a renewal of the deadly struggle which has taken place in the past, and is therefore to be condemned, as conduct contrary to the interests of mankind. A superficial view of the industrial battle-field might lead any one to believe that war on a larger scale than ever was now imminent between labour and capital. On each side are massed larger forces, arrayed for war and ever increasing in numbers, in material resources, in skilful leadership, and in organization; on each side all minor causes of dissension and disunion are put aside, such as individual interests and personal animosities, that a united front may


presented to the common foe. But this would be a false and delusive picture—the dark side only. The bright side is very different, full of hope and full of promise. This it is I wish to paint.

Increased organization, whether of masters or men, or of both, means decreased war. Though more noticed, strikes occur less frequently. When there is a strike or a lock-out, though the area is greater, the contest is less bitter and intense. Moral and intellectual pressure has a greater coercive effect upon both sides. More attention is paid by each side to the views of the other. There is far more restraint. Wiser and more prudent counsels tend to prevail. The strike or the lock-out has less of the character of war to the death. Each side presents less of the stiff-necked, dogged resolve to yield ! nothing, but fight it out to the bitter end. If we take a typical instance of a struggle of twenty-five years ago, the lock-out of the engineers in 1852, we find it beginning with an ultimatum or declaration of war by the Union, wrong in form, even had the object been right, and calculated to irritate and inflame the employers. On the other hand, , the employers entered upon the contest with the formidable announcement that they would utterly destroy the great institution, which the men rightly regarded as the means of their safety and strength. Refusing all offers of compromise, the employers would only accept the complete and abject submission of the men. They had to choose between starvation or desertion of their Union. They were forced to promise to break faith with their Union; and in the end they broke their promise and not their faith. It was a fierce and ungenerous triumph by the employers, but a fruitless victory, as far as the destruction of the Union was concerned. For

the Society of Amalgamated Engineers, instead of being destroyed, acquired fresh strength and has prospered ever since ; proving that the power of combination can withstand the most crushing defeat.

There has in truth been a great intellectual and moral progress among employers and employed. Doubtless, there are parts of England and certain trades in which the relations between employers and employed are as bad now as was ever the case. There are trades in which the most brutal savagery is still the rule. This is the blackest part of the dark side ; but the bright, if slowly, is surely gaining upon it. None of the leaders of the workmen have ever desired that there should be any relaxation of the law dealing with real crimes. The agitation for the abolition of the unjust laws which have lately been repealed has not been disadvantageous to the working classes. Questions of personal interference, of criminal and moral responsibility, have been brought vividly before them. They have been thus made to see the necessity and advantage of having to justify their actions in the full light of public opinion. The passing of the recent Labour Laws, recognizing the complete legal independence of the working classes, has come at an opportune time. Industrial independence must follow. A strong current has set in from the old towards the new order. Everything tends in that direction, whether we look to the attitude of the employers to the employed, of the employed to the employers, or whether we look to the moral and intellectual change in public opinion on these industrial questions. The time has in fact arrived for a new departure, or rather for fresh efforts in that direction which has proved to be right. The central fact, the focus of light, is, the success of the boards of conciliation. The last ten years have been their time of trial, and the results of the system are more satisfactory than its promoters had dared to prophesy. Wishing to show the real progress that is taking place in industry, I am forced by the logic of facts to group what I have to say round this system of conciliation.

The practical success which has attended the establishment of most of the boards of arbitration

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