The Garden Guide

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

Labouring class in Manchester

Previous - Next

The Condition of the Labouring Classes, we certainly think, is, on the whole, improved since 1806. The people seem rather better informed, even in the agricultural districts, and undoubtedly a great deal more so in the manufacturing towns. As to gardeners, with whom we are chiefly concerned, the difference in their favour is astonishing; not merely in their knowledge of gardening, but on subjects of general interest. There is much less drinking, and brutal enjoyment of every description, among every class of country labourers and mechanics than there was in 1806. Labouring men now consider themselves as citizens, with certain rights natural and civil, as well as their superiors; they are capable of acting with more independence, and in concert, with a view of effecting permanent advantages for themselves and their descendants. This good may be referred mainly to the prevalence of peace, which has for fifteen years allowed the working of such education as is to be got by existing schools, newspapers, and cheap periodicals. Next to the establishment of a national system of education, we are firmly persuaded that the greatest good which the legislature could do to the labouring classes, would be to take every tax off paper, printing, and newspapers. Another good would be, a reserve of labour for public improvements, as it has been proposed for Ireland; and a third, facilities for voluntary emigration.