[It was not without reluctance that we inserted in our last an Address to the Stocking-makers, signed a Hosier;—we apprehended, and rightly, what would probably follow; a controversy,—which scarcely could have an end in the year Seventy-Eight;—having already materials sent in that would nearly serve us to that period. – We must beg however to be excused inserting more than one of these gratis; to which, if the Hosier thinks proper to reply, he is very welcome——at the usual price paid for insertions in this paper.]
Pray Sir, make a little room that we may vindicate ourselves from the charge of falsehood —
We do assert, and can prove, that the prices are lower now than they were thirty years ago, in most of the articles that are made in this county: We call upon thousands to bear witness to this truth; nor are they made slighter, as is affirmed, but as good, if not of a better quality, for the same and a lower price in different article. There are of late articles introduced into the art, made of single worsted for a very low price, the quality can not be vindicated, the materials being improper for usefulness. – – If we depart from truth, we should be obliged to the Hosier to impart it to us in fee-simple, – – he and his brethren are fully possessed of it in fee-tail. — They have turned the Devil Poverty out of doors, and flung his old rags out of the window, for fear he shall make a return. ——
——Pray Gentlemen, examine your minds by daylight,—the Monitor will tell you, that the maker’s wages are not adequate to the price of provisions and the necessaries of life: They bear no proportion now, to what they did 30 years ago.
The Stocking-makers are not to be blamed in making application to Parliament for legal redress; although success did not attend their mode of proceeding, their grievances are no less real; thousands can witness the truth.
The Hosier seems to be astonished, at their folly and madness, for proceeding in such a manner, as though it was not expedient and lawful.—And he introduced notes of admiration and surprize, sufficient to guild an old rotten sign-post with.—The Philistines could not lead about that great booby Samson till they had put out his eyes;—The Stocking-makers do not think the Hosiers have less wit than the Philistines: though Jugglers like them, would impose upon us blindfold.
The Deity has not given you a spirit of slumber, if he has, I hope he has not hardened your hearts by a covetous spirit.———Was you in the Stocking-makers situation and circumstances, you would be inspired by the same motives as they are, for advancing the price of labour.
But you feed on the fatted calf, while the marks of poverty is seen on their backs, and in many of them, the signs of horrid famine in their countenances: they have bones and skin, it is true, but they ought not to be made fiddle-cases of, for their masters’ fancies.
I shall not take note of your burlesque on poor families, of their children being put to work as soon as they have dropped their leading-strings; you yourself prove the wretchedness of that family, that is under such obligations. While the root of covetousness grows in your spirit, it will bring forth the bitter fruit of grievances in the minds of your workmen.
What our greatest thought engages,
Is as much work, but larger wages.
From yours, a Frame-work-knitter.
Besides the above Piece, all the other Answers to the Hosier agree that the prices of work have been greatly reduced; that heretofore what was done at 18d. is now reduced to 1s. and what was paid for at 2s. a piece, is now done for 18d. and in general that the wages of a Journeyman-Stockingmaker, after deducting all expenses, is no more than 5s. 6d. per week.]