The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: London to Manchester in the Spring of 1831

Agricultural labour unions

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There appears to us only one way in which the monopoly on the part of the employers of labour is to be met by the labourers, with a view to prevent it from being injurious to them, and that is, by a counter-monopoly on their part, in the form of combinations to support the price of labour. We shall not here go into the subject farther than to observe that this is not likely to be done to any good purpose, till the labouring classes are better educated, and rendered fit to comprehend and cooperate for their true interests. Were that the case, there would be an understood combination among all of them, as there is at present among some particular classes of mechanics and manufacturers. Even among gardeners this tacit combination exists, and there is not one of them about London, who ranks beyond what is considered in the profession a gardener's labourer, who would accept a situation as master at less than 50l. a year, with a free house or lodging, and vegetables (This is less than the hire of a good footman, but it is honourable to gardeners, and to human nature, that it should be so; and we think they should rather be proud of it than otherwise. The time will come when professions of learning and leisure will be worse paid than those of severe bodily labour, watching, and fatigue.). When other labouring classes become as enlightened, and as communicative with each other, as the gardeners, they will follow their example. It is acknowledged by all political economists that high wages are much better for the employer, as well as the employed, than low wages. We intended to touch on some other topics, and especially on plantations, roads, and cemeteries; but we defer these for the present, thinking that we may employ ourselves more to the advantage of our readers by proceeding on our journey.