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and then some salt provision and vegetables, rarely, if ever, butcher meat; their drink water, which, for the most part, is stagnant.
In the other parts of Southern France, the peasantry live better. They eat wheaten bead, soup made with vegetables, and a little grease or lard twice a day, potatoes and other vegetables, but seldom butcher meat; their drink is wine or piquette; a family, composed as above, could lay something by from their gains at the end of the year, as the wants of the lower classes are much fewer than in England; in fact, the luxuries of tea, &c., are quite unknown.
I can corroborate most of these statements from my own observations. Wages in Switzerland, and Physical condition of the Artisan Peasantry.
I am loth to speak of the wages of Switzerland. The pecuniary amount of wages is at all times a fallacious index to the real condition of the labourers. In Switzerland it is peculiarly so, owing to the very great subdivision of land, and the intermixture of agricultural and artisan occupations, a vast number of the working classes producing a portion of their own subsistence.
This and other peculiarities render the money wages of the Swiss artisans so inadequate a criterion of their eminently happy and prosperous condition, that I cannot too strongly caution my readers against making the former a measure of the latter. There is also another peculiarity in the supply of labour in certain branches of trade, common not only to Switzerland but to a large portion of Germany and Austria, which it is necessary to describe. I allude to the Wander-schaft system. By immemorial usage, no apprentice can obtain his freedom and become a master until he has spent so many years under his itinerant probation, and in following his avocation beyond his native country. He is furnished, on setting out, with a book, in which his various masters insert certificates of his service and conduct. This is called a "Wanderbuch." The journeyman is generally assisted not only by the trade to which he belongs, in towns where there is no employment for him, but by the donations of travellers. This part of the system I think objectionable, for it decidedly removes that abhorrence of dependence, which it is so essential to inculcate, as an element of physical, as well as of moral, welfare. I have been frequently asked by well dressed men, with a knapsack on their backs, for money on the road. However, from one of those who asked charity of me I derived a great deal of valuable information; he had been through Switzerland, part of Bavaria, and Wurtemberg, and was then on his way home to Baden. He spoke French admirably, and gave me an excellent account of the most salient features in the condition of the workmen in the different counties he had been in; and I need hardly say how greatly the experience they gain in their travels must tend to improve them in their trade, and, what is far more important, to add materially to their knowledge and mental capacity. I object, however, decidedly to the practice of begging, which cannot but remove the reluctance to so degrading a resourse in after life when distress may arise, without the palliation which custom affords to the journeymen. In every other respect it appears advantageous; and in point of intelligence, I can speak from personal knowledge to the fact, that these journeymen on the Continent very far surpass the same class in this country in general education.
Mr. Kennedy of Felkirch favoured me with some written remarks on this interesting subject, which, from his long residence in Austria, no one more fully understands:
"You are aware that here, as over almost every part of Germany, the trades of tailors, shoemakers, furriers, &c. &c., are carried on by masters who employ journeymen on the Wander-schaft as it is called, that is to say, workmen who go from town to town, stay a winter at one place, a summer at another, and receive generally, besides board and lodging, a certain sum weekly. This is usually about a dollar (Ss.) to 3 florins (58.); tailors 20 per cent. less. When they go from one town to another, it is a recognised privilege of theirs from time immemorial to ask assistance from passers-by as they travel along, and at the towns they pass through; and at every town there is a "hepberge," as they call it, where the master of the inn has agreed with the guild of that trade to lodge them at a very low rate; so that when they arrive, they immediately ask for the tailors' or shoemakers', &c., herberge, and by that means can travel very cheaply; a very bad system, which was originally intended to give them an opportunity of improving themselves in the knowledge of their art, but it is peculiarly favourable to vagabondising. At the moment I am writing this, a silk weaver has applied to me for assistance. From his passport I see he has been in Italy, and then in Hungary, and is returning to the Grand Duchy of Nassau, whence he came. Of course, in the large towns, they have the system of piece-work in a much greater degree."
In the linen districts of Berne, the weekly average wages (net) of the weavers were as follows:
1. For the best damask (skilled workmen),
= 88. 4d.
50 cent. 7 1 5 10
The condition of the weavers is exceedingly good; they not only possess all the comforts of their class in life, but, excepting merely the cases where a large and young family has to be provided for, considerable savings are amassed by the Bernese linen weavers.
The price of food and lodging is so moderate in the neighbourhood of Langenthal, that an adult is able to support himself with ease on fivepence per day.
I confidently believe, that it would require 30s. per week in England, in the neighbourhood of any country town, to put a man, his wife, and three children (two of whom shall be above 15 years of age), in the same condition, and in all physical respects, on a footing with the average of Swiss artisan peasants having the same family. This statement requires a little explanation. I assume that an English family thus circumstanced, where provisions were of the average price in England, might be supposed to expend their 30s. somewhat thus:
Rent of cottage of 4 rooms, per week,
Bacon, 8 lb. at 9d.
Of course, the value of these articles will vary in different parts of Eng. land; but I believe the amount of comforts and necessaries to be purchased for SOs. a week, will on the average, be found to tally with the above state
I fearlessly assert, that that amount of comforts and necessaries, mutatis mutandis, is enjoyed by the bulk of Swiss artisan families in the German cantons of Switzerland. This is an assertion which cannot be set aside by mere ipse dixit. They who may desire to do so can alone ascertain its validity by personally visiting the homes of the Swiss peasants at different hours and in various cantons. I am not afraid to submit this statement to any one who has thus qualified himself to pronounce an opinion on the subject.
I am, moreover, impressed with a confident belief that the working classes of northern Switzerland, enjoy a greater amount of physical comfort, and of mental cultivation, than the working classes of any other European community.
Unmarried men and itinerant workmen are, for the most part, boarded in the houses of small proprietors.
The sums raised for the relief of the impotent poor are very trifling, and never, even where no institutions exist for their support, bear son with poor-rates in England.
any compariThe price of food necessarily varies greatly in different cantons, as the transit-tolls, which constitute a great part of Swiss taxation, make provisions comparatively dear wherever they are not the produce of the canton in which they are consumed. The following will be found, however, a tolerably correct average for the majority of the German cantons.
Bread fluctuates from 1d. to 1 d. per lb. of 17 ounces: the average is 1d. for common bread, i. e. one batz of Zürich. Meat varies from 2 d. to 4 d. per Swiss lb.; average price, 3d. Potatoes, 20d. per sack of 33 gallons; but the fluctuations are very great. Milk, from 5 to 7 farthings per pot of 3 pints. Wine, for workmen, 3s 4d. per quart. Wood also varies much, from 20s. to 30s. per cord of 90 feet.
The meals of the Swiss consist more of porridge than is general in EngJand; and much more milk and cheese are consumed. In other respects (wine and cider being substituted for beer), the catalogue of articles I have given above will scarcely differ in the two countries. The amount of meat I have purposely stated rather low.
Wages were higher, as in England, during the war; for persons knowing how to weave were then smaller than they now are in proportion to the demand for woven goods. The peace returned a number of soldiers to the country, and weaving very soon resumed its rank among the lowest of arts. The high education of the Swiss soon taught them to perceive that a handiVOL. XXV.-No. 6-JUNE, 1840.
craft, at least as far as plain weaving is concerned, requiring the skill of children and the strength of women, must necessarily be remunerated by the wages of children's and women's labour. Weaving, therefore, except in the fancy work, has long ceased to be a separate employment; and exists but as the occupation of children, women, and elderly men, or as occupying the intervals of higher branches of adult industry.
A very important effect results to the economy of wealth from this system. It appears that, by this junction of manufacturing and agricultural industry by the same persons, an augmentation must accrue to the production, and consequently to the wealth, of the country. An agriculturist in England seldom works after four o'clock in the afternoon: the Swiss agriculturist, on the contrary, occupies himself at the loom not only in the evening, but during bad weather, and in winter, when the English farm-labourer is idle. The loom, which is here an exclusive and starving occupation, is there a pastime of supplementary production. It is, I think, manifest that the Swiss system increases the wealth of the nation; but it must be remarked, on the other hand, that were the sort of out-door labour performed by the Swiss artisans the same as that of the English labourers on arable farms, instead of being chiefly horticultural and pastoral as in Switzerland, it is questionable whether the hands inured to the plough, the flail, and the pitchfork, would be fitted for the weaving of muslins and ginghams for evening amusement.
TO BE CONTINUED.
On Beet Sugar. By J. C. BOOTH.
There are few subjects which have created more sensation in the greater part of Europe, and the United States, simultaneously, than the manufacture of sugar from beet root. That it should have induced many individuals in this country to experiment, with a view to its manufacture, the characteristic enterprise and ingenuity of our people might guarantee, but may we not assign as the chief reason of their failure, or only partial success, the fact, that too many of us still boast of our practical knowledge, with a sidelong sneer at the assistance of science. It is rather more surprising, to observe the intense and all pervading interest manifested on various parts of the continent of Europe, especially in Germany, on the sugar-beet and its important product, as it clearly shows that this learned people has received an impulse with the rest of the world, relative to more modern manufactures, or rather that the zeal with which scientific men have devoted themselves to the advancement of the arts, is now developing its effects on the mass of the community. The frequent questions asked relative to the making of beet-sugar, may be better answered by a concise description of the superior method of extracting sugar from the dried beet, the main part of the account, being taken from Dingler's Polytechnic Journal, for 1838, Bd. LXIX. The drawings in all their details will be omitted, and merely the general features of the process described.
1. Cleansing. They must be washed, to free them from the soil which adheres to them, and this may be executed in a simple tub, or on a larger scale, a vat, into which water flows. A convenient arrangement for this purpose, might be a net-work cylinder, slightly declining from a horizontal position, revolving under water, or through which water should abundantly How. The beets coming out from the depressed end of the cylinder, will be perfectly clean.
2. "Cutting. They are next cut by a machine into long strips, exhibiting a square by a cross section, i. e. into long parallelopipeds, which is ac
complished by a series of small knives attached to a sheet of iron, parallel to, and at short distances from, each other, which first make incisions as deep as the required thickness of the pieces, and are followed by a long knife, behind and at right angles to the smaller ones, by which the strips are separated." The knife with the smaller ones, cut by a vertical motion, but there might be a greater economy of time, by bringing a series of these cutters on a wheel, and attaching the smaller knives to the large one, suffering them to project a little below it, so that their incisions may be immediately followed by the edge of the long knife.
3. Drying. "Various and simple arrangements have been devised, for drying the pieces thus cut, in all of which, the principle consists in exposing them in thin layers, to a current of air, heated to a temperature of between 100° and 145° Fah.; for if below 100°, they are apt to ferment, and if above 145°, they are liable to decomposition. For this purpose they are placed on wire nets, in the form of drawers, to the depth of one or two inches, the drawers sliding in one over another, at the distance of three inches, to allow of a free circulation of air. The drying chamber, or house, is heated, either by a hot-air furnace, or by steam tubes. A better arrangement, however, and one requiring but little hand-labor, is a series of endless wire-nets, one over the other, and each passing around a roller at each end. The pieces are carried from the cutting machine, on an endless cloth, up the highest of the nets, on which they fall, and are carried to the farthest end, by its constant motion, where they fall on the next lower endless net, which at this end projects beyond the uppermost, moving in the opposite direction on to the farther end of the second, which does not reach as far as the third, they are received on the latter, and again transported to its farther end, and thus by moving alternately in opposite directions, on the adjoining nets, they reach the lowest, from which they are thrown off in a dried, or sufficiently dried, state for use. These parallel nets are all in a chamber, heated by steam tubes from below; lower openings in the apartment, admitting cold and dry air, the upper ones above the nets, permitting the egress of the hot air surcharged with vapor. After drying they are ground to powder."
4. Sugar extraction. "The saccharine matter may be extracted by pure water, but it is found to be more advantageous to add acid, or lime, to it. The former is preferable, and sulphuric acid the most convenient. To nine parts of water add two-thirds or three-fourths of a pr. ct. of sulphuric acid, (according to the amount of sugar in the beets,) and stir in four, or even more, parts of the powdered beet. The stirring should be continued until the acidulated water is absorbed, when the mass is subjected to pressure in bags; the remaining mass is again treated with the same quantity of equally acid water, and pressed, but the liquid thus obtained, is used for the next fresh quantity of powder. The moistening and pressing are continued until all the sugar is extracted.
The portion first pressed out, is treated with a quantity of slaked lime a little more than sufficient to neutralize the acid, and the precipitation of sulphate of lime, takes place fully at the temperature of 165° to 190°. Fahr. The clear liquid is drawn off and crystalized by the ordinary sugar-refining process."
5. Theory. Beside sugar, there are many other vegetable principles contained in the beet, of which gluten and albumen are most injurious and difficult of management, but by drying they are rendered insoluble, and cease to be troublesome. It is also in consequence of the same operation, that less animal charcoal is required for purifying the sirop, than where the beets were