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lation, it becomes important to ascertain as nearly as possible the total amount of income of each class, and the average income of the wage-receiving class. The returns of the income tax afford the means of forming a tolerably exact estimate of the incomes of the upper and middle classes. These returns have been discussed by Mr. Baxter, in his essay on “ National Income," * and the following table shows the result of his analysis.
UPPER AND MIDDLE CLASSES: DISTRIBUTION OF INCOMES.
ENGLAND AND WALES, 1867.
The question of the amount of wages received by the laboring class is difficult to determine, owing to the different rates prevailing in the same occupation in different parts of the country; to the great irregularity in employment, so that large numbers of laborers fail to earn full wages the whole year round ; and, finally, to the fact that the powers of laborers in many branches of work diminish at a comparatively early period, after which their wages decrease. In some trades a man is disabled by the time he is fifty years old, or even earlier ; in others, as in agricultural labor, he is rarely an effective worker after sixty.
Mr. J. Bailey Denton, who has given much attention to the subject, makes the following statement, in a letter published in the Daily News, October 1, 1868:
“ The weekly earnings of different laborers which fairly represents
"National Income. The United Kingdom.” By R. Dudley Baxter, M. A. London: Macmillan & Co. 1868.
the class known as 'industrial' operatives of towns — including piecework — may be stated to be as follows: Carpenters and joiners.
from 18 0 to 28 0 Sawyers
21 0“ 26 0 Bricklayers
average 31 6 Bricklayers' laborers
19 6 Brickmakers
from 24 0 to 30 0 Masons
0 Masons' laborers
17 6 Gardeners (exclusive of head gardeners)
16 0 Smiths.
from 26 0 to 28 0 Brassfounders
24 0 6 33 0 Painters
average 28 0 Bootmakers
from 21 0 to 26 0 Tallow-workers (laborers)
average 18 0 Engineers and boiler-makers
from 25 0 to 30 0 Coalminers
17 0." 27 0 Quarrymen (slate)
18 0 6 23 0 Carters
17 06 190 Railway laborers (maintenance)
15 0 20 0 Butchers' men
16 06 18 0 Police constables
average 200 Bakers' men .
from 21 0 to 26 6 Cotton-workers.
average 18 6 Silk-workers
from 17 0 to 24 0" In the preceding list, Mr. Denton takes no account of the diminution in the annual income of the laborer from slack work, which is a large element in the account. It would be a very moderate estimate to put it at, at least, ten per cent; probably it is nearer twenty per cent.*
In a letter to the Times of December 16, 1868, Mr. H. G. Somerby, Secretary to the Trustees of the Peabody Fund, says:
“I have this day obtained from the superintendents of the various blocks of buildings erected by the trust in various districts of London returns of the occupants of every apartment, and the result shows the number of workingmen and laborers for weekly hire to be as follows: 17 shoemakers, 16 blacksmiths, 7 watchmakers, 2 brushmakers, 7
* Mr. Frederick Purdy, principal of the Statistical Office of the Poor Law Board, in the Statistical Journal, Vol. XXIV. p. 353, states that the number of paupers in the five most agrarian districts of England is greater in February than in August by 425,000 against 370,000, or 55,000 persons. This number represents the prev. alence of the custom of turning off-laborers in the season of slack work.
tailors, 7 painters, 1 glazier, 6 letter-carriers, 12 policemen, 55 porters, 3 draymen, 14 dressmakers and needlewomen, 20 charwomen, 6 compositors, 2 millwrights, 1 staymaker, 1 gasmeter maker, 123 laborers, 4 shopmen, 1 upholsterer, 2 glasscutters, 5 coopers, 3 corkcutters, 1 beadle of a market, 3 boiler-makers, 1 beltmaker, 1 cook, 2 horsekeepers, 2 steredores, 13 carmen, 2 timekeepers, 19 mariners, 4 ropemakers, 3 riggers, 1 milk-carrier, 1 brewer, 1 window-blind maker, 6 shipwrights, 3 engine-turners, 1 bricklayer, 3 tidewaiters, 2 shipkeepers, 3 lightermen, 1 tinplate-worker, 1 candlemaker, 4 carpenters, 2 bakers to confectioners, 1 ship-scraper, 2 sailmakers, 5 bakers, 1 plumber, and 1 French polisher.
“ The average wages earned by these various classes of working men is a fraction above 20s. a week. Some, such as the painters, glaziers, compositors, and millwrights, and others, get more when in full work; but as a rule only a proportion of them are fortunate enough to have continuous yearly employment. The lowest wages obtained by others in the Peabody houses is Is. a week. Out of their wages each has a family to maintain, which on an average consists of four or five individuals."
It will be observed that the average obtained by Mr. Somerby, from actual inquiry conducted among workmen and laborers of a high standard of industry, — for only such are admitted to the benefits of the Peabody Trust, - is considerably lower than that given by Mr. Bailey Denton.
Any estimate of the total amount of the income of the laboring class can be but approximate. Mr. Baxter, in the work already cited, discusses the question at some length, and gives the table of results which will be found on the next page. His figures are drawn mainly from the Census Tables, and he reckons the income, not at the full sum of the weekly wages, but with various deductions. It seems probable that he rather under-estimates the sum of the earnings.
The total income of England and Wales, according to this and the preceding table, amounts to £ 661,929,000, of which £407,200,000 is the income of about two millions of persons of the upper and middle classes, and £ 254,729,000 is the income, in the form of wages, of about seven and three quarter millions of the working class.*
* If these figures be taken as a basis of calculation, it appears that less than 50,000 persons out of nearly 10,000,000 receive between one third and one fourth of the whole income. If we add to the manual-labor class the number of persons not belonging to it whose income is under £ 100, making 8,788,000 in all, we find that 89 per cent of the classes in receipt of income and wages obtain but 47 per cent of the total income. The average amount of income or wages of the 9,000,000 of those whose annual income or earnings are less than £100 is about £35. Doubling their number by the addition of those dependent upon them, it follows that this enormous mass of the people of England, not far from 18,000,000 in all, is supported on an average annual sum which cannot vary greatly from £17 to £18, or about one shilling a day for each individual. If we take the class with incomes over £100, and estimate its numbers, including dependents, at 2,100,000, it appears that the average annual income of each individual is not less than £165. But dividing this class into two sections, the first comprising those with incomes from £100 to £300, we find the average income of each individual, including dependents, belonging to this section, whose number amounts to about 1,700,000, to be between £ 55 and £ 56; while of the second section, namely, that of those whose incomes are over £300, and who, with their dependents, number about 400,000, the average annual income is not less than £ 633. However from the exact truth these figures may be, they are not without value as more or less correct illustrations of existing facts.
NUMBER AND EARNINGS OF MANUAL-LABOR CLASS IN
ENGLAND AND WALES, 1867.
It would be a mistake. to attribute precise accuracy to these tables. But, making allowance for even greater error in them than probably exists, certain important broad conclusions may be drawn from them. An extraordinary inequality in the distribution of wealth is apparent at a glance, and an enormous disproportion between the numbers of the rich and the poor. It is also apparent that a large majority of the inhabitants are poor, - poor not merely relatively, but positively. The great pyramid of English wealth rests on a wide base of poverty and pauperism.
It would be easy to adduce proof of the correctness of these broad conclusions, if there were likely to be any serious question of it. But there is no dispute as to the immense inequality in the distribution of English wealth, and little doubt as to the fact that this inequality is increasing. The members of the laboring classes, as a rule, are unable to lay by enough from their wages to form an accumulation of capital. The capital of the country, or such part of it as is used as an advance for the expenses of production, being in the hands of a small number of persons in proportion to the whole population, its profits, accumulating from year to year, make the rich richer, and widen the distance between them and the poor.
A phrase that has been much used of late is, that the rich are growing richer and the poor poorėr. The first part of the phrase is correct, but there is no necessary connection between its two clauses. If there be a progressive increase of poverty,
a it may be due to far other causes than the increase of the wealth of the rich. Indeed, it would only be through the increase of the wealth of the rich by unjust means, by direct spoliation, or by rendering to the laborer an unfairly small compensation for his share in the work of production, that the increase of poverty could truly be said to result from the increase of the riches of the rich. It would seem that the increase of capital, even if massed in comparatively few hands, in a country largely engaged in production, ought to have a tendency to diminish the poverty of the laboring class, by forming a larger wages-fund from which labor was to receive its compensation. But the condition of a society may be such that the increase of the wages-fund exercises little influence in raising the rate of wages. And such a condition of things probably now exists in England. The grounds of this conclusion are as follows : The popula- No. 224.