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Family limitation in Lancashire : an environmental problem, 1832-1911 Reimer, Hilrie 1984

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FAMILY LIMITATION IN LANCASHIRE AN ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM 1832 - 1911 by HILRIE REIMER B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of History) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1984 (c) w H i l r i e Reimer, 1 9 8 4 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements fo r an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of / / ^ ^ ^ ^ The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date DE-6 (3/81) - i i -ABSTRACT In nineteenth-century Lancashire, reproductive complications as a result of cotton dust exposure were either ignored or misunderstood largely because moral and economic concerns tended to overshadow the health issues involved. Debate in the f i r s t half of the century over who should be responsible for the industrial poor and the subsequent controversy over the diminishing birth rate, particularly among textile workers, helped bring health issues into focus by the turn of the century. A comparison of dusty mills with ideally ventilated mills indicates that contemporary observers were of the impression that families involved in the latter were larger and healthier than those that were employed in the former. The testimony of working women also attributes reproductive problems to poor health caused by their work. Ailments associated with cotton dust exposure had been recognized early in the course of the debates but the concept of a disease specific to cotton dust inhalation and related reproductive impairment was not defined until well into the twentieth century. i i i -TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page I. Introduction to the Problem of the Declining Birth Rate in Nineteenth-Century Lancashire 1 II. Statistics and Impressions of the Declining Birth Rate 16 III. Mission to Diffuse Family Limitation Information Aborted 42 IV. Satanic Mills vs. Ideal Mills 65 V. Working Women's Conceptions and Perceptions 123 Conclusion 157 Bibliography 166 - iv -LIST OF CHARTS I. England and Wales Legitimate and Illegitimate Birth Rates 1851-1880 II. England and Wales, Legitimate Births per 1,000 Population, per 1,000 Wives 15-45, 1871-1934 III. Completed F e r t i l i t y by Social Class IV. Infant Mortality in Lancashire - V -LIST OF TABLES Page I. Possible Composition of Cotton Dust 5 II. A) Average Census Ages of Married, Unmarried and All Women, Aged 15 To 45 21 B) Percentage Age Distribution 21 III. Completed F e r t i l i t y in Each Marriage Age Group by Social Class 24 IV. Operatives Employed in the Cotton Industry (In Thousands) 33 V. Weekly Wages in the Manchester and Dist r i c t Cotton Trade 36 VI. Female Occupations Associated with an Increased Risk of Idiopathic I n f e r t i l i t y , I n f e r t i l i t y with Evidence of Hormonal Disturbance or Delayed Conception 106 VII. S t i l l b i r t h s and Miscarriages 126 VIII. General and Infant Death Rate, 1861-64 130 IX. Percentage of Hospital Births, England, 1877-1924 138 - 1 -CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM OF A DECLINING BIRTH RATE IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY LANCASHIRE The decline of the birthrate was arguably the most important social change to occur in Victorian England but historians have shown remarkably l i t t l e interest in the phenomenon. 1 The above statement from McLaren's study, Birth Control In Nineteenth  Century England, expresses a concern I have. Moreover, I find that the existing histories of birth control on family limitation tend to emphasize the volitional aspects of f e r t i l i t y control and overlook aspects in the complex network of population change relating to involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y . Existing histories, McLaren points out, have focused on fleshing out a unilinear model of the progressive adoption of mechanical contraception. This modernization model maintains that family size was restricted f i r s t by the upper classes, next by the middle classes and fi n a l l y by the working classes. "The assumption is made that the f a l l in family size has been the most dramatic example of the embourgeoisement of the working classes. McLaren argues against this interpretation, but agrees with the general conclusion expressed in most of the studies that the crucial variable in the declining birth rate i s "volitional" family limitation.3 Where McLaren's study differs from previous works i s in i t s focus; his main contention is that historians, assuming the decline in f e r t i l i t y to be a consequence of - 2 -the diffusion of birth control information, have tended to concentrate on the role of mechanical contraceptives and in the process have overlooked the importance of traditional methods of family limitation, particularly 4 abortion. He argues that neither the "right" nor " l e f t " middle-class propagandists, seeking to manipulate the working-class attitudes toward 5 procreation, had much effect on the reproductive behaviour of the masses, and contends that the economic pressures of the nineteenth century precipitated an increase in deliberate abortions which brought down the national birth rate.*5 McLaren's contention is disturbingly provocative. It raises some important neglected questions about abortions in the nineteenth century, and i t is not broad enough in i t s scope. McLaren c r i t i c i s e s the "unilinear" models of population change developed by other historians but does not really develop a more intricate model. He focuses on the role of deliberate abortions in the declining family size, however, overlooks the role of spontaneous abortion. F e r t i l i t y is one of the most complex of social phenomena and i t s determinants are seldom mono-causal in nature. Much has been written about voluntary f e r t i l i t y control, much less about involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y . Historians have paid only cursory attention to the significance of environmental and occupational factors in population change such as sanitation, nutrition, housing and atmospheric pollution, particularly pollution in the work place. The purpose of my paper is to address an aspect of this neglected area of research. My work as a rehabilitation consultant in the occupational health unit at the Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia has further stimulated my concern for occupational hazards, including work-related - 3 -hazards to reproduction. Involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y is a significant occupational health problem for which few etiologic factors have been identified. An entirely new area of medicine has developed gradually over the past century committed to researching industrial health problems. As technological improvements reduce accidents in the work place, more attention and recognition have been given to industrial problems believed to be caused by the introduction of chemicals and other substances into the environment. There is growing evidence that environmental exposure to certain agents contributes to human i n f e r t i l i t y . It has been shown, for example, that males exposed to agents such as lead, chloroprene, heat and radiation may develop impaired f e r t i l i t y due to alterations in spermatogenesis;^ i t has also been suggested that female anesthetists may Q be at higher risk of i n f e r t i l i t y compared with other female physicians. The Compensation Board was recently involved in investigating concerns that Video Display Terminals might be causing spontaneous abortions. Of specific relevance to my paper is the literature describing research into the a n t i - f e r t i l i t y action of certain chemicals contained in cotton dust. Some time ago I began an investigation into the historical i n f e r t i l i t y of Lancashire cotton operatives but, like historians cited earlier, concluded that the crucial factor was "volitional" family limitation. The recent research linking chemicals contained in cotton with i n f e r t i l i t y suggested to me that the i n f e r t i l i t y of the Lancashire cotton operatives may have been in part the outcome of environmental insult. - 4 -Ailments associated with cotton dust exposure had been recognized early in the course of research into the well-being of operatives, but the concept of a disease specific to cotton dust inhalation and associated reproductive impairment was not defined until well into the twentieth century.^ In the past four decades, the connection between cotton dust and the debilitating respiratory disease byssinosis has been established.^ Nevertheless, the connection between the respiratory disease caused by agents in cotton dust and i t s link with i n f e r t i l i t y is s t i l l in i t s infancy. Research into the etiology of byssinosis symptoms revealed not only the adverse effect of agents in cotton dust on the bronchial smooth muscle but simultaneously on the reproductive system. It was found that some compounds contained in cotton affected men's reproductive system while others affected women's. -j Cotton and i t s dust i s a complex heterogeneous material. Chemically i t contains many types of carbohydrates, l i p i d s , proteins, pigments, miscellaneous and inorganic compounds.^ The following table gives a breakdown of i t s composition. - 5 -TABLE I POSSIBLE COMPOSITION OF COTTON DUST 8% - 10% H20 up to 2% N02 10% - 20% inorganic compounds Carbohydrates: at least 20% cellulose hemicelluloses pectin compounds up to 10% liguins up to 10% condensed tannins hydrolyizable tannins Phenolic pigments: terpenoids, gossypol coumarins flavonoids porphyrins 1ipids proteins and peptides free sugars, amino acids, amino sugars and amines miscellaneous compounds Source: Wakelyn & Associates, p. 23 - 6 -The percentages given are approximations and no percentages are given for the phenolic pigment gossypol. Gossypol, however, is of particular importance in the study of f e r t i l i t y . In 1978, the results of studies identifying the compound constituent of cotton, gossypol, as an a n t i - f e r t i l i t y agent affecting male reproductive capacity were published. 1 2 These studies were initiated in China in 1950 when investigators were puzzled by the extremely low birth rates in a particular geographic area that could not be explained by the social/economic theories of contraception. China, unlike most Marxist countries, has a strong anti-natal policy and the low f e r t i l i t y of the region inspired further investigation.13 Researchers eventually related the phenomenon to the residents exclusive use of crude cottonseed o i l for cooking. Further research revealed that the active substance was gossypol, which is a phenolic compound found in the seed, but also the stem and roots of the cotton pi antJ4 Clinical t r i a l s of gossypol began in 1972 in China and revealed that males were more susceptible to the a n t i - f e r t i l i t y effect of cottonseed ,oil than females. To date, more than 10,000 men have been studied. Each received a daily oral dose of 20 milligrams until the sperm count was sufficiently reduced which took about two months. Subsequently, maintenance doses 75 to 100 milligrams were taken twice a month. Among the f i r s t 4,000 men receiving the drug for periods from six months to four years, i t was found to be 99.89 percent effective as an a n t i - f e r t i l i t y agent.^ - 7 -Examination of the semen of subjects who had been on gossypol for some time "showed decrease in the percentage of motile spermatozoa and increase in malformed spermatozoa followed, by a gradual drop in sperm count until azoospermia was achieved." 1 6 Gossypol's greatest inhibitive effect was on an enzyme, which is found only in sperm and testes c e l l s and is necessary for sperm production. However, upon discountinuation of gossypol the number and morphology recovered over a period of two to three months and births of healthy babies among the subjects' wives have been reported.!? It was noted that only a small amount of gossypol was required for effective f e r t i l i t y control and no toxic side-effects were observed at this level. At higher dosages than the amount required for f e r t i l i t y control, gossypol was shown to cause many of the symptoms associated with the early stages of byssinosis. In other words, by the time a man showed symptoms of byssinosis he had been exposed to greater doses of gossypol than that which could cause i n f e r t i l i t y . By the time he was considered chronically disabled by byssinosis he might have been i n f e r t i l e for some time. Excessive exposure of dust on the lungs of pregnant women has also been shown to be detrimental to reproduction. During pregnancy the blood's demand for oxygen increases. "A state of hyperventilation exists and the mother continuously moves more air through the pulmonary system to extract a given amount of oxygen than she does when not pregnant."18 The increase in maternal oxygen consumption is estimated at 20 to 30 percent above non-pregnant l e v e l s . 1 9 In view of the increased work of respiration and her greater need for oxygen, the pregnant woman is more susceptible to toxic - 8 -agents such as cotton dust which reduces the number of circulating red blood cells by interfering with the oxygen uptake of hemoglobin, thus causing anemia.21^ Although this may cause only minor symptoms in pregnant women, there may be more serious fetal e f f e c t s . 2 1 The prenatal organism is susceptible to chemical insult at each stage of the developmental process, and i t i s estimated that up to 80 percent of damaged fetuses are spontaneously aborted. 2 2 In addition to interfering with the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, the contact of cotton dust on the lung tissue can cause the release of several substances which also may cause spontaneous abortions. In a 1981 study, Fowler and his research team at the Department of Agriculture in Texas, U.S.A. discovered that when cotton dust came in contact with the lung, prostaglandins E and F 2 > which are hormone-like substances, were liberated from the lung t i s s u e . 2 3 Fowler pointed out that the prostaglandins are potent broncho-constrictors and may account for the predominant symptoms of the "Monday feeling" associated with the early stages of byssinosis. The tightness in the chest, Fowler suggested, may be caused by the activity of prostaglandins on the bronchial smooth muscle causing i t to contract. In addition, Fowler found that prostaglandins caused uterine smooth muscle to contract and thus could cause the uterus to expel a fetus. Indeed, synthetic preparation of prostaglandins had been used for over a decade in obstetrics for both terminating pregnancies and for inducing labour. 2^ - 9 -Subsequent studies by Harper and his associates at the University of California School of Medicine confirm Fowler's findings. 2 5 In addition to causing bronchial and uterine smooth muscle contraction, they noted that prostaglandins cause gastrointestinal smooth muscle to contract, leading to cramping, bowel disorders and tightness of the chest. These symptoms, as noted earlier, are associated with the development of byssinosis.26 Harper suggested that these symptoms would be eliminated by lowering the dosage of prostaglandins to that required for control of f e r t i l i t y . 2 7 That i s to say, a smaller amount of prostaglandin release than that which gives rise to symptoms of byssinosis can function as powerful a n t i - f e r t i l i t y agents. The a n t i - f e r t i l i t y action of both the prostaglandin release and the presence of gossypol in cotton have inspired me to reopen my enquiry into the low f e r t i l i t y of Lancashire cotton operatives. That the textile workers had smaller families than did other occupational groups was recognized by mid-nineteenth century.2** It was also recognized that low f e r t i l i t y and women's occupation in cotton factories was somehow rel a t e d . 2 9 Many nineteenth-century investigators were convinced that both contraceptives and il l e g a l abortions were employed to deliberately limit families. A few suspected that involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y might be the cause of the small families.-^ By mid-nineteenth century, the birth rate had begun to decline and did not follow a unilinear model. 3 1 Family size was not restricted f i r s t by the upper classes, next by the middle classes and f i n a l l y by the working classes. Evidence from many investigations indicates that family size f e l l - 10 -f i r s t amongst the Lancashire cotton operatives, by no means the wealthiest or poorest of occupational groups. 3 2 This caused much concern among the authorities who suspected that immoral behaviour and illegal abortions were on the increase as a result of women working in close proximity with men in the cotton m i l l s . 3 3 Despite investigations initiated by Parliament, medical officers and others, these views proved to be l i t t l e more than assertions. Indeed, they were said to be as much. It was claimed that the significance of environmental factors was underestimated and abortions or miscarriages and loss of infant l i f e might well be the result of the poor health of the mother herself brought on by poor family hygiene and lack of fresh a i r . 3 ^ Much debate was generated but no consensus could be reached by contemporaries on the voluntary or involuntary nature of the decline of the birth rate, partly because many medical problems were undiagnosable at the time and partly because i n f e r t i l i t y was seen as a moral rather than a medical issue. I suggest that the decline was significantly influenced by environmental factors. Evidence indicates that the majority of cotton operatives who were exposed to large dosages of cotton dust over an extended period of time contracted chronic respiratory problems.3^ Although i t was not known at the time, twentieth-century research has shown that dosages of cotton dust sufficient to cause chronic respiratory problems is more than the amount necessary to cause reproductive impairment. It i s my contention that the operatives working in dusty cotton mills had smaller families than other occupational groups because of exposure to intolerable dosages of cotton dust now known to be a reproductive hazard. - 11 -Since hard evidence linking chemicals contained in cotton dust with i n f e r t i l i t y was not available until recently, I must rely on nineteenth-century stat i s t i c s and impressions and attempt 7 to support them with twentieth-century studies on the relationship between i n f e r t i l i t y and specific reproductive hazards. The time frame for my enquiry into the family size of Lancashire cotton operatives i s eight-five years, 1830 to 1915, a period in which the Victorians expressed considerable concern over the effect of female factory labour on the family. Their concern gave impetus to social, political and medical investigations which provide some of the primary material for my study. Differential trends in f e r t i l i t y patterns have an important bearing on my study and are based upon T.H.C. Stevenson's 1911 Census "Report on the F e r t i l i t y of Marriage in England and Wales". The "Report" utilizes census material from 1851 to 1911 and illustrates the variations in emergent occupational f e r t i l i t y patterns. Although I recognize the hazards in uncritically accepting census material, according to J.W. Innes, preliminary study of the "Report" has failed to disclose any fundamental bias in the material which would undermine i t s analytical value. It i s , moreover, the only source in existence from which one can determine differential f e r t i l i t y trends at their inception. It i s not my purpose to challenge the validity of the "Report" but to accept i t as others have. 3 6 It is a starting point and supporting evidence available to enrich statis t i c a l material will be - 12 -used. Excerpts from the "Report" and other evidence of the declining birth rate are presented in Chapter II of this study. In Chapter III, I discuss briefly the more prevalent "volitionally based" theories attempting to explain the diminishing birth rate, and I deduce that voluntary limitation theories provide only part of the network leading to population change and underestimate environmental influence on f e r t i l i t y patterns. In Chapter IV, I address the crucial question of how major the impact of cotton dust was on f e r t i l i t y in the nineteenth century. An attempt to link cotton dust and i n f e r t i l i t y will be made in this chapter by comparing dusty mills with the ventilated mills. The major d i f f i c u l t y here is that no direct evidence of a demographic kind linking cotton dust to actual f e r t i l i t y levels exist. The nineteenth-century evidence I do have is of a literary kind which can be misleading. However, by choosing literature both from pro-factory and anti-factory sources, I hope to present at least balanced evidence. The overall impression one gets from the literature is that the families employed in dusty mills were sickly, showing chronic respiratory symptoms and were less f e r t i l e than those employed in well-ventilated mills. There i s another problem. Even i f i t can be accepted that lower f e r t i l i t y prevailed in the dusty mills, i t becomes d i f f i c u l t to isolate dust as the crucial variable affecting f e r t i l i t y . The ideal comparison would be of mills which had ventilation and those that had none but in which most - 13 -other conditions were similar. Ashworth's mills were similar to other mills in the county in respect to hours worked, wages paid and the fact that women were employed mostly in carding and weaving. However, outside of working hours the environment might have differed from family to family. The evidence required to connect actual f e r t i l i t y levels with cotton dust exposure across comparative groupings where proper controls can be utilized to isolate the crucial variable of dust is not available. Census statistics do not provide such specific information. Original census and vital registration materials may offer the foundations for family reconstitution and may permit more accurate conclusions. This is clearly beyond the scope of this paper, even assuming one could find ideal comparative units. I shall attempt to deal with this problem by presenting a number of modern studies which provide at least some hard, even i f indirect, evidence. In Chapter V, I present working women's own perceptions of their f e r t i l i t y . This chapter is almost entirely based on letters written by working women who completed their f e r t i l i t y in the latter part of the period under study although the letters were published a few years after the " F e r t i l i t y Report" was completed. The concluding chapter discusses the problems raised in previous chapters and maps out the kind of research and methodology that might be used towards more solid proof of the argument. - 14 -NOTES TO INTRODUCTION 1. Angus McLaren, Birth Control in Nineteenth-Century England, London, 1978, p. 11. 2. Ibid., p. 12. 3. Ibid., p. 11. 4. Ibid., p. 14. 5. Loc. c i t . 6. Loc. c i t . 7. Pamela Rachootin and Jorn 01 sen, "The Risk of I n f e r t i l i t y and Delayed Conception Associated With Exposures In the Danish Workplace", Journal  of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 25, No. 5, May 1983, p. 394. 8. Ibid., p. 394. 9. J. Corn, "Byssinosis - An Historical Perspective", American Journal of  Industrial Medicine, 1981, p. 343. 10. Loc. c i t . 11. Wakelyn, Greenblatt, Brown, Tripp, "Chemical Properties of Cotton Dust", American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 1976, p. 23. 12. National Co-ordinating Group, "Gossypol - A New Anti-Fertility Agent for Males", Chinese Medical Journal, November 1978, pp. 417-428. See also Djerassi, The Politics of Contraception, "The View From Beijing", The New England Journal of Medicine, 1980, Vol. 303, No. 6, p. 335; also "Gossypol, A" Powerful Inhibitor of Human Spermatozoal Metabolism." The Lancet, 19 April, 1980, p. 885; also Joseph G. Montalvo, ed., "Cotton Dust Controlling an Occupatinal Health Hazard", ACS Symposium Series 189, p. 285; and W. W. Tso and C. S. Lee, "Natural Vaginal Contraceptive", Archives of Andrology, 8 February 1982, p. 13 and the Vancouver Sun, Wednesday, 1 June 1983, p. 1. 13. J. Djerassi, "The Politics of Contraception, The View from Beijing", The New England Journal of Medicine, 1980, Vol. 303, No. 6, p. 335. 14. National Coordinating Group, Op. c i t . , p. 417. 15. Loc. c i t . 16. Loc. c i t . - 15 -17. National Co-ordinating Group, Ibid., p. 427. 18. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 60601, 1977, p. 31. 19. Ibid., p. 17 and 31. 20. Ibid., p. 30. 21. Loc. c i t . 22. Chemical Hazards to Human Reproduction, 1981, p. x i . 23. Steven Fowler; R. Ziprin; M.H. Elissalde; G. Greenblatt, "The etiology of byssinosis - possible role of prostaglandin Fa synthesis of alveolar macrophages", American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, June 1981, passim. 24. Ibid., p. 30. 25. Harper, Rodwell, Mayes, "Metabolism of Lipids", Review of Physiological  Chemistry, 16th ed., 1981, pp 296-298. 26. Ibid., p. 297. 27. Ibid., p. 298. 28. John W. Innes, Class Ferti l ity Trends in England and Wales, 1876-1934, 1938, p. 47. ' 29. Ibid., p. 344. 30. Carol Dyhouse, "Working-Class Mothers in Victorian England", Journal of  Social History, 1978, passim. 31. Census of England and Wales, 1911, Vol. XIII, "Fertility Of Marriage", Parts I - II, Table XLIV, p. XCVii. 32. Loc. c i t . 33. Hansard, 1844, Vol. LXXLII, Col. 676, cited in M. Hewitt, Wives and  Mothers In Victorian Industry, 1964, p. 11. 34. Carol Dyhouse, "Working-Class Mothers and Infant Mortality In England", Journal of Social History, 1978, p. 259. 35. Corn, Op. c i t . , pp. 331-352. 36. Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers in Victorian Industry, 1958, bases much of her study on the data contained in the "Report". - 16 -CHAPTER II STATISTICS AND IMPRESSIONS OF THE DECLINING BIRTH RATE Today we are brought face to face with unanswered statistics proving that our birthrate is steadily diminishing. This has already attracted the serious consideration of statisticians and of some of our statesmen, but the inquiry into i t s causes has been confused and incomplete... The subject is a great one -so great indeed that i f the nation could only see i t in i t s true proportions i t would I think be found to dwarf all other questions of the dayJ The remarks cited at the beginning of this chapter are taken from the presidential address in 1904 On the Diminishing Birthrate by John W. Taylor, Professor of Gynaecology at Birmingham University and Surgeon to the Birmingham and Midland Hospital for Women. In a later article published in Nineteenth Century, 2 Taylor declared that he and other physicians viewed the decline of the birth rate with dissatisfaction and disgust. Moreover, the doctors were not the only inquirers who viewed the statistics with dissatisfaction. What was i t about these s t a t i s t i c s , as McLaren asks, which could have been interpreted as an improvement in public health, that aroused "disgust" in Victorian authorities? Taylor's dissatisfaction was mainly that the volitional act of limiting families was a threat to the dominance of middle-class values. He emphatically stated: A r t i f i c i a l prevention is an evil and disgrace - the immorality of i t , the degradation of succeeding generations by i t , their domination or subjection by strangers who are stronger because they have not given way to i t , the curses that must assuredly - 17 -follow the parents of decadence who started i t . For i t is undoubtedly to this that we have to attribute not only the dimishing birthrate but the diminishing value of our populaton.3 The statistics on birth rates during the Victorian period were indeed impressive and elusive. "In every index and every chart, the fact that f e r t i l i t y more than halved in less than sixty years is clearly depicted," 4 writes Innes. Although we have only scant evidence on f e r t i l i t y patterns prior to the period covered by the F e r t i l i t y Commission 1851-1911, demographers t e l l us that in the i n i t i a l decades of the nineteenth-century f e r t i l i t y rates went up.5 By mid-nineteenth century, evidence is somewhat more plentiful. The F e r t i l i t y Commission of 1911 recorded the history of f e r t i l i t y from census material for couples married between 1851 and 1886 according to the husband's occupation. The figures show that for all age groups and all classes f e r t i l i t y declined in the second half of the nineteenth century. 6 Marriages in the 1860's, which had lasted for 20 years or more, produced an average of 6.16 births; in the 1870's, 5.8; in the 1880's, 5.3; and in the 1890's, 4.13.7 Extra-marital f e r t i l i t y started to decline about thirteen years before the f e r t i l i t y of married women started downward, as shown in Chart I. - 18 -Class Fertility Trends CHART I ENGLAND <t WALES LEGITIMATE & ILLEGITIMATE BIRTH RATES 1651 - 1880 (1876 = I00") 14 0 (30 120 110 100 90 • • •••• • • • • \ • *•* • • • LE GIT1 M A T E LEG IT IMATE 1651 1661 1671 Source: J. Innes, p. 4 - 19 -Course of Fertility Decline C H A R T n E N G L A N D & W A L E S L E G I T I M A T E B I R T H S P E R 1 0 0 0 P O P U L A T I O N P E R 1 0 0 0 W I V E S 1 5 - 4 5 16 71 - 1934 (lfl76 - 100) 100 90 00 70 60 SO 40 30 • \ XT", j \ \ \ / -•s\ : M " V . V R. OT FOR. P ATE FOR W 3PULATIO IVES 15-N AS "t , IA7I 1081 1881 >»0I 1911 1921 1931 Source J. Innec p. 15 - 20 -Evidence from crude birth rates indicated that marital f e r t i l i t y actually rose from 1860 to 1876 and less than a quarter of the rise could be explained away by changing age structure. * In contrast, extra-marital f e r t i l i t y declined almost continuously after 1863 and here also the role of age structure was considered negligible. 9 After 1877, marital and non-marital f e r t i l i t y patterns ran p a r a l l e l , 1 0 and an estimation of the decline is given in Chart II. There i s of course a problem in accepting these early statistics uncritically. Registration of illegitimate births may hardly be considered as accurate as for legitimate births. Registration and age are the two statistical factors which influence the reality of the legitimate and illegitimate f e r t i l i t y trends. However, J.W. Innes 1 1 in his study of the "F e r t i l i t y Report" points out that more thorough registration would possibly only make the decline of the illegitimate birth rate appear less than i t actually was. He also maintains that the change in the age of unmarried women as shown in the following tables, is so slight that i t s effect on illegitimate f e r t i l i t y may be considered insignificant. In other words, the differential between the illegitimate and legitimate f e r t i l i t y decline should be acceptable. 1 2 * Please see Table TT A and TT B. Page 21 - 21 -TABLE II A 13 AVERAGE CENSUS AGES OF MARRIED, UNMARRIED AND ALL WOMEN, AGED 15 TO 45 CENSUS YEAR MARRIED WOMEN UNMARRIED WOMEN TOTAL 1851 1861 1871 32.79 32.78 32.68 24.12 24.12 24.08 28.23 28.37 28.35 TABLE II B PERCENTAGE AGE DISTRIBUTION Married Women 15 To 44 CENSUS YEAR 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 15-44 1851 1861 1871 1.11 13.38 22.46 23.37 21.04 18.64 100.0 1.28 13.85 22,05 22.79 20.91 19.12 100.0 1.33 13.89 22.48 23.01 20.63 18.66 100.0 Unmarried Women 15 To 44 CENSUS YEAR 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 15-44 1851 1861 1871 28.63 27.04 14.39 8.51 6.02 5.41 100.0 39.35 26.98 13.46 8.18 6.21 5.82 100.0 40.21 26.20 13.36 8.16 6.21 5.86 100.0 - 22 -The major exception defying the general broad inverse relationship between socio-economic status and family size is demonstrated by the f a l l in family size which occurred f i r s t in the textile occupational group considered number six on the socio-economic scale developed by the F e r t i l i t y Commission of 1911. The " F e r t i l i t y of Marriage Report", part of the Census of 1911, divided the population into eight socio-economic groups.14 Although textile operatives, comprising the great majority, were classified as Group VI, their family size and birth rate decline corresponded closely with that of Group I and Group II, the landed and professional classes. 1 5 For certain age groups in some decades during the period covered, Group VI f e r t i l i t y was below that of similar age groups in Groups I and II with whom the beginning of "volitional family limitation" i s generally associated. 1^ The f e r t i l i t y of the cotton operatives, by no means the "most" or "least" economically pressed occupational group, was "conspicuously lower" than that of a l l other sectors of the working class for the entire period covered by the F e r t i l i t y Commission, 1851-1911.17 (Please see Chart III and Table III.) - 23 Class Fertility Trends C O M P L E T E D F E « ? T I L 1 T T S O C I A L C L A S S A. M A R R I A O E A G E . IS- If* C. M A R R I A G E A C E . 2S-2S t l 71 ' 6 7 ' - 1641 -41 •< B. M A R R I A G E AGE. 20 -24 « • * : - t a t i - i a ? i - i t o t l 71 41 t l 0. M A R R I A G E A G E , 3 0 - 3 4 • -i , V D B -V - I V -u -vi -I 1 4 7 1 - 1 4 4 1 - I 4 4 t - I 4 » l -41 it t l M Source J . Innes, p. 50 - 24 -TABLE " I . C O M P L E T E D FEUTILITV IX EACH M A «. M A C E A C E G R O U P BY SOCIAL CLASSES' Age of Marriage I 5-10 Date of Socio / Class Marriage, / / / / IV V VI VII VIII Total* 1851-61 844 895 888 875 846 886 912 872 1861.71 719 809 857 856 876 803 94' 879 852 1871-81 618 728 804 807 836 761 909 836 802 I88l-86k S49 650 738 741 789 701 870 794 743 Age of Marriage 10-24. Date of Social Clan Marriage I u* / / / IV V VI VII VIII Total* 1851-61 674 738 747 726 779 708 818 788 745 1861-71 629 689 714 7'9 749 676 806 748 7'7 l871-8t 5'9 594 651 654 696 597 77' 7'3 646 •881-86 436 5'4 588 597 653 539 736 676 586 Age of Marriage 25-39 Date of Social Clan Marriage / II* / / / If V VI VII VIII Total* 1851-61 5'7 593 S7« 588 600 484' 638 604 STJ 1861-71 498 538 55* S37 556 499 63' 57° 543 1871-Sl 4t8 466 485 479 5'4 436 562 537 480 1881-86 349 398 434 435 473 389 538 510 427 1886-91 3°4 355 3^ 398 446 349 5'5 475 390 Age of Marriage 30-34 Date of Soeit ./ Class Marriage / II" / / / IV V VI VII VIII Total* 1861-71 36* 387 376 37» 388 343 420 4" 381 1871-81 3" 34» 343 349 373 3'° 400 39' 349 1881-86 »59 *95 3o6 308 327 284 383 369 3°7 1886-91 128 262 277 a79 3°5 145 355 34' 278 1891-96 '97 »35 252 »54 281 216 333 3=3 250 Age of Marriage 35-44 Date of Social Class Marriage / / /• / / / IV V VI VII VIII Total* 1861-71 167 217 204 196 3^4 26l_* 33'' 252 213 r«7i-8i US >7i 176 176 190 188 212 '79 1881-86 122 138 '47 148 150 '4' '73 166 '45 1886-91 100 125 128 13* '37 '36 '59 '45 129 1891-96 9° 102 110 105 124 I03 '45 ' 44 »34 no 1896-1901 80 91 106 108 120 94 127 106 * Includes wives of occupied husbands only. b Excludes wives under 45 in 1911. * Based on less than 100 wives. • Report, Part II, Table XLIV, p. xcvii. Source J . Innes p . 4 7 - 25 -Obviously, family limiting practices were not adopted uniformly throughout the population. The operatives' f e r t i l i t y patterns were, I shall demonstrate, an impressive exception to the theory that the working classes were emulating the "parents of decadence who started i t " . 1 * 5 There were also "unexplainable" differences within the textile trade that did not correspond to the concept that the economically pressed were emulating the "better off" classes by intentionally limiting their families. When subdividing the groups into various subgroups of the same trade, the Registrar General commented: Textile workers furnish no instance > among their subdivisions dealt with of even average reproductiveness ... One of the most interesting points brought out is the superiority of the spinners over the weavers of cotton ... the explanation is probably to be found largely in the difference between the two occupations in regard to the occupation of wives. Cotton spinning is mainly a man's job and weaving a woman's. The number of married males returned as engaged in cotton spinning is 32,474 and of married females, 10,636; whereas for weaving processes the numbers are 38,626 and 53,691 respectively ... It may be f a i r l y inferred from these facts that a much larger proportion of the wives of cotton weaving husbands than of cotton spinners work in the mills which could account for their lower f e r t i l i t y . For as will be seen when the f e r t i l i t y of occupied women is discussed, occupation of the wife entails as might be expected, considerable reduction of f e r t i l i t y ... the continuing f e r t i l i t y of wives themselves occupied in cotton spinning is shown to be 82 percent as against only 72 percent for weavers, a defect in the one case of 18 percent and in the other of 28 percent ... cotton spinners stand out as considerably more f e r t i l e than any other section of the cotton or woolen industries whether the men or women employed are considered. 1 9 - 26 -The Registrar General linked the decline of the birth rate to the incidence of female employment opportunities outside the home. He pointed to trades such as mining where there were but few employment opportunities for women and f e r t i l i t y was high and to the textile trade where there were many job opportunities and f e r t i l i t y was low. The Registrar General also noted that there was a correlation between low f e r t i l i t y and the type of work outside the home performed by women. He drew attention to the statistics that female spinners were more f e r t i l e than female weavers. The inference was that since both spinning and weaving were done in the factory, the job must differ in some aspect that would influence variable f e r t i l i t y patterns influenced by the nature of work. The major difference between the two occupations as relates to female f e r t i l i t y seems to be that the women in spinning had less exposure to the factory and i t s contaminants during child-bearing years than did those in weaving. A reason was that male spinners tended to withdraw their wives from the factory and did not allow other wives into spinning except under special circumstances. Widows who already had families to support were sometimes allowed into spinning because they did not have a husband to support them, and in order to look after their children they required a decent wage. Re-entry of women into spinning after completion of their f e r t i l i t y was a possibility, but on whole, factory spinning was the prerogative of the skilled male who jealously guarded entry into the occupation, and we shall offer reasons for this presently. - 27 -I n i t i a l l y , spinning, weaving and the preparatory processes had been carried out by the family unit as a cottage industry. The industry underwent technological changes in the latter part of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century that restructured the family unit of production. The three main phases in the industry's technological development, the time before the introduction of machinery, the years when water power was dominant and the period when steam power became predominant, also mark distinct periods of change in the division of labour. 2 0 In the period before the introduction of machinery, the cotton manufacture was carried on in the house of the work people and provided employment for a l l members of the family; spinning and i t s preparatory processes, like cleaning and carding, were performed by women and children, while the weaving was done by the male head of the household. Where the family could not provide sufficient labour, the preparatory processes were "put out", but the head of the household was responsible for a l l the processes and paid for a l l operations preparing the cloth. The difference between these costs and what he received for the woven cloth constituted the income for him and his family. 2 1 Spinning machinery conquered the cotton manufacturing much more quickly than did the powerloom, the weaving section. But the spinning jenny in 1770 and the mule in 1790 did not i n i t i a l l y alter the structure of the family unit of production. With more mechanical improvements and enlargement of machinery, spinning became a separate business and was f i r s t brought under - 28 -23 the factory system while weaving continued to be done in cottages. The women and children continued with the preparatory processes in the homes and the men worked in the factories operating the increasingly complex spinning machinery. The second phase of technological change, beginning with Arkwright's water frame, combined the preparatory and spinning processes and took them 24 both out of the home. With Cartwright's invention of the power loom in 1785, spinning and weaving were brought together under one roof because both needed power. Both processes remained specialized, however, with men carrying out the more complex spinning, while women and young men operated the power loom. Children and women also continued working on the preparatory processes of cleaning and carding. I n i t i a l l y , the new machinery did not disrupt the family unit of production. Entire families were employed and fathers continued to be responsible for the family's 25 production. Mill owners paid the head of the unit and he in turn paid his assistants out of his wages. The employment situation of women was similar to that of children in that both were employed by the head of the household. It was during the third phase of technological advance in the cotton industry, from about 1820 to the end of our period, that innovations in factory machinery demanded more differentiated labour. The enlarged mules with increased number of spindles meant that fewer spinners were required for operation and the steam powered looms required large numbers of young men and women. It was no longer feasible to hire s t r i c t l y family units. - 29 -By 1841, approximately one-third of Lancashire cotton factories had combined the various processes under one roof.26 The single process firm continued side by side with the integrated firm but was not as e f f i c i e n t . 2 6 In 1850, the representative spinning factory operated 11,800 spindles and employed 108 operatives. Some mules had over 1,000 spindles, whereas at the beginning of the century the largest number was about 100 spindles per mule. In weaving, the representative firm operated 163 looms with 100 hands while the combined type firm operated 17,800 spindles, 300 looms and employed 315 operatives. 2 7 The decade 1851-1861 was the period of most rapid expansion in the cotton industry. By 1853, 90% of Lancashire's labour force (335,000) was employed in the fact o r y , 2 8 and estimates provided by various factory inspectors indicated that about 50% of the factory workers were women.2^ A breakdown of figures for Preston in 1850 divides the labour force as follows: 4.6% - children under 14; 11.2% - males between 13 - 18; 28.0% - males 18 and over; 55.0% - women over 13.30 The restrictions on child labour in 1833, limiting the age of entry into factories to nine years and in 1847 the hours to be worked by children to ten, further altered the family unit of production and increased the demand for female labour. By 1861, i t was estimated that 65% of power loom weaving in Lancashire was done by women.31 - 30 -Spinning remained the prerogative of the skilled male operative to the end of our period. Importantly, the spinner's position meant a continuation of the principle of male dominance as chief breadwinner and head of the family as a production unit. The spinners were organized and aggressively opportunistic during the good times as well as during depressions. The 1853 Amalgamated Association of Cotton Spinners continued throughout our entire period. The most obvious explanation for their superior organization is that theirs was an a l l male union while the other associations were dominated by women who had l i t t l e experience in organization. 3 2 The threat to the breadwinner's customary economic domination of the family unit underlay much of the early industrial unrest. Spinners were in the forefront of the agit a t i o n . 3 3 The spinners struck against the continuing enlargement of new machinery and the introduction of women into spinning. Unsuccessful strikes in Oldham, Preston, Wigan, Stockport and Blackburn in the 1830's and 1840's resulted, as had earlier strikes, from the introduction of enlarged spinning mules that appear to have threatened the authority of the spinner as head of the family productive unit. Neil Smelser states: These strikes, in my opinion represented the operatives' attempt to resist the pressures of,the improved machinery on the division of labour - pressure to modify the traditional wage structure, to multiply the number of assistants, to throw heads of families out of employment and to hasten the general deterioration of the spinner's authority.34 - 31 -At the meeting of the 1829 inauguration of The Grand General Union of  the United Kingdom, cotton spinners la i d down rules that their union should only include male spinners and urged women to form separate unions. When the Manchester Guardian questioned the Union on the issue, an o f f i c i a l stated that the reason was to preserve the head of the family. 3 5 To be a spinner in the Victorian factory meant being a skilled artisan and having a special place in the production process. The skilled spinner gave orders to his subordinates, worked new machines and commanded higher pay than the other factory workers. The greater benefit, however, was in the security the position provided for him and his family compared to that of other workers. For most skilled spinners, the most important advantage appeared to be in long service and hence promotions within the firm. In his study of Victorian factory workers, John H o l l y 3 6 found that between 55 and 60 percent of skilled workers in the two factories under study had ten years or more service with the same employer while under a third of unskilled labourers worked for the same employer as long. The larger turnover of other workers resulted from their being forced to l i v e in areas other than factory communities in order to get through periods of poverty caused by layoffs or recession. The skilled workers were not obliged to move as frequently, because there was more demand for their labour. Their a b i l i t y to hire members of their families also helped them to secure the benefits of a more stable and predictable way of l i f e . The families of the skilled workers thus could make many decisions on the basis of the head's position in the factory. They decided where to live and how - 32 -long. Geographical non-mobility resulted in a more orderly and respectable l i f e - s t y l e for these one-career families. Theirs was what Young and Willmott called an asymmetrical family, where the husband was economically but also interpersonally more important than his w i f e . 3 7 One would expect that the spinners who ranked higher in socio-economic status than weavers within the textile industry would emulate middle-class l i f e - s t y l e s ; when finding children not to be economically an asset, they should, according to this view, have decided to limit their families. The evidence does not bear this out; since the spinner continued to be the most f e r t i l e of a l l subgroups within the textile trade to the end of our period. The male spinners did not object to factory owners "hiring" widows as spinners i f they were heads of their households and supporting children, but single women, or wives with supporting husbands, were not welcomed into spinning by the spinners. The 1853 Amalgamated Association of Cotton Spinners continued to espouse the same values and objectives throughout our entire period. The power loom weaver's union included women from the start. 3* 5 The policy in the weavers' combinations was to help women combine with men to increase the family income rather than drive them out to protect the wages or status of men. Power looms were much simpler machines than the spinning machinery and required a larger number of workers so that the position commanded about one-half to two-thirds the pay that a spinner received. - 33 -About the middle of the nineteenth century when craft unions were consolidating, only Lancashire cotton weaving unions made a serious effort to organize women and by 1876 had about 15,000 women members, or about half the total membership.39 The female membership in the next decade rose to 30,000 and women shared in the progressive advance in wages. The following table provides some indication of the differentiated labour at the turn of the century. TABLE IV OPERATIVES EMPLOYED IN THE COTTON INDUSTRY (IN THOUSANDS) THE UNDERLINED FIGURES RELATE TO MARRIED AND WIDOWED WOMEN 1901 Cotton Processes Lancaster England and Wales Male Female Male Female Card and blowing run 11.4 28.7 13.8 34.0 10.1 12.2 19.6 28.6 Spinning processes 49.5 4.3 64.1 6.0 38.6 48.9 Winding, warping, etc. 14.8 13.0 18.3 15.8 113.5 130.8 Weaving, warping, etc. 57.6 38.1 66.1 44.4 TOTAL 133.3 265.9 162.3 320.7 Source: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. VII, 1910, p. 10 - 34 -Prior to the repeal of the Combination Laws in 1824, the law against activity "in restraint of trade" had greatly hampered union formation. In practice this meant that combined activity such as forming unions to raise wages could result in the prosecution of those involved. In 1820, a local Blackburn paper carried an account of a t r i a l at the Lancashire Assizes, in which two weavers, James Watson and Lawrence Moss, were charged with conspiring to raise wages of the weavers at Blackburn. The prosecuting counsel charged them with "conspiring to raise wages of those employed in the art, craft or mystery of weaving". 4 0 The judge in sentencing Watson emphasized the seriousness of the crime: James Watson, you have been convicted upon very convincing evidence of a very dangerous conspiracy; such conspiracies are very mischievous, and i f they are allowed there could be no commerce.4! Lawrence Moss never faced the courts, having escaped from prison. By 1824, Members of Parliament were convinced that the Combination Laws had not only failed in their object to prevent combinations from forming but had seriously antagonized workers. The laws were repealed but weavers' unions continued to have d i f f i c u l t y organizing. From 1840 onwards, with the formation of d i s t r i c t weaving l i s t s , there developed a "more or less permanent" form of organization but most unions remained local, informal and intermittent. 4 2 Weaving l i s t s were drawn up by informal committees in various l o c a l i t i e s but by mid-nineteenth century the demand for a standard - 35 -price l i s t was the weavers' main concern. In 1853, the Blackburn weavers negotiated the "List" which later extended throughout Lancashire and was known as the "Cotton Operatives Chartes". 4 3 These l i s t s were very complicated and were administered by men like Ned Whittle, secretary of the Blackburn weavers who was considered a strong negotiator. The purpose of the l i s t was: ... to keep up our present rate of wages to the standard l i s t and be able to resist any attempt to reduce the same and also to prevent one employer paying less than another for the same amount of work and more particularly to bring up the prices of those who are paying the lowest rate of wages.44 All of the d i s t r i c t unions and the Amalgamation were open to women and were as concerned over the wages of women as over those of men. The earnings of men and women weavers were said by some c r i t i c s to represent a woman's standard and not a man's. However, before the twentieth century a "woman's standard of wages" was absent from most trades. Employers when introducing women to work previously done by men had no scruples about cutting rates by one h a l f . 4 5 In weaving, women generally received equal pay for equal work. They nevertheless earned less than men because they were not allowed to tune their own machines as the work was considered too heavy. Instead, they were required to pay an "overlooker" for the service. 4 6 - 36 -In contrast with the more orderly lives of the spinners, the less skilled weaver went through many changes of employment. Often the family would be required to relocate in order to find work. In good times, however, i f the wife and husband both obtained employment, their combined income might exceed that of the more skilled one-earner family. TABLE V WEEKLY WAGES IN THE MANCHESTER AND DISTRICT COTTON TRADE 1834 1836 1839 1841 1849 1850 1858 1860 1870 1877 1883 1886 Averages S.d S.d S.d S.d S.d S.d S.d S.d S.d S.d S.d 5.d Spinners 23.4 23.11 22.11 22.0 21.7 20.5 24.1 23.2 27.8 34.4 32.4 35.7 Piecers 11.0 9.3 8.0 8.8 8.6 13.0 10.0 10.0 11.0 12.4 16.0 13.7 Weavers 11.0 10.2 9.6 9.6 10.6 10.3 11.2 10.8 12.2 15.1 15.0 13.3 Source: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. VII, 1910, p. 290 Nevertheless, the prosperity of a l l operatives, spinners, weavers and those engaged in non-union preparatory processes, was subject to periodic j o l t s when depressions struck the cotton industry. Moreover, as Anderson points out, there was l i t t l e assistance available other than from kin in times of c r i t i c a l l i f e s ituations. 4 7 Some of the financial burden of crises was alleviated by membership in sick-clubs, friendly societies and burial clubs. These aids, however, did not adequately lessen the blow of poverty. - 37 -No comprehensive survey of the extent of poverty is available for any nineteenth-century town before the publication of Booth's and Rowntree's reports in the 1880's and 1890's respectively. They found that in London and York, about 40 percent of the working class was in poverty. 4 8 Lancashire's poverty would li k e l y have been as widespread because of the periodic depressions in the cotton industry. Michael Anderson, u t i l i z i n g Foster's calculations of family incomes and incidence of poverty in Oldham in a slump year and in a normal year, concluded that over the life-cycle as whole, only some 15 percent of a l l working-class families in Lancashire would have escaped a period of poverty. 4 9 During a normal year, 35 percent of labourers' families would experience some poverty. During a slump year, this figure rose to 78 percent. For skilled factory workers, the comparable figures were 14 percent and 52 percent. Even among top artisan families, 14 percent would experience poverty in a slump year. 5 0 Moreover, i t appears that in trades other than the cotton, a differential in family size did not exist between skilled and unskilled workers. Holly, in his study contrasting the paper industry with the woollen industry in nineteenth-century Scotland, noted no clear difference between occupational subgroups with respect to f e r t i l i t y . Holly states: Estimates of the f e r t i l i t y of families using child-woman ratios, the number of children, that i s , under five per married women under f i f t y years, indicate no significant difference in f e r t i l i t y between skilled and labour headed, families.51 - 38 -The available statistics certainly indicate that a unique situation existed in the cotton industry in relation to family size differentials that cannot be adequately explained by focusing primarily on social-economic status. The a b i l i t y to support a family appears to have been relative, with very few operatives escaping at least some period of poverty. The fact, though, that the economically more secure spinners did not have smaller families than the poorer textile workers indicates that emulation of upper classes was not the crucial motivation in determining family size. The spinners' determination to retain the male dominance as head of the family unit of production, resulting in the withdrawal of their wives from factory work, might have influenced family size in several ways: f i r s t l y , their wives might have had less access to birth control information, and secondly, they might have had less exposure to contaminates in the work place. The former possibility is the subject of the next chapter; the latter possibility will be examined in Chapter IV. - 39 -NOTES TO CHAPTER II 1. J.W. Taylor, The Diminishing Birth-Rate Presidential Address Delivered  Before The British Gynaecological Society, 1904, p. 4. 2. J.W. Taylor, "The Bishop of London ,on the Declining Birth-Rate," Nineteenth Century and After, 59 (1906) p. 226, cited in Angus McLaren, Birth Control in Nineteenth Century England, 1978, p. 11 3. Op. c i t . , p. 24. 4. John W. Innes, Class F e r t i l i t y Trends In England and Wales, 1876-1934, 1938, p. 11. 5. James P. Huzel, "Malthus, The Poor Law and Population In Early Nineteenth Century England", Economic History Review, 2nd Series, Vol. XXII, No. 3, December, 1969, p. 442. 6. T.H.C. Stevenson, " F e r t i l i t y of Marriage Report", Census of England and  Wales, 1911, vol XIII, p. XCii 7. Angus McLaren, Birth Control in Nineteenth Century England, 1978, p. 11. 8. Innes, Op. c i t . , p. 7. 9. Innes, Op. c i t . , p. 7. 10. See Chart II. 11. See Charts I and II and Innes, Op. c i t . , p. 7. 12. See Table IV A and IV B and Innes, p. 7. 13. See Table II A and II B and Loc. c i t . 14. Innes, Op. c i t . , p. 45. 15. See Chart III and Table III. 16. See Chart III and Table III. 17. Innes, Op. c i t . , p. 45. 18. J.W. Taylor, The Diminishing Birth-Rate, 1904, p. 25. 19. " F e r t i l i t y of Marriage Report", Census of England and Wales, 1911, Vol. XIII, p. c x i i i . - 40 -20. Frances Collier, The Family Economy and the Working Classes, 1964, The divisions in the development of the Cotton Industry are summarized beginning p. 1, Neil Smelser, Social Change In The Industrial  Revolution, 1959, passim. 21. Barbara Drake, Women In Trade Unions, 1950, p. 6. 22. Ivy Pinchbeck, Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850, London, 1930, p. 31. 23. Loc. c i t . 24. Pinchbeck, Op. c i t . , p. 187. 25. Neil Smelser, Social Change in the Industrial Revolution, 1959 p. 101. 26. P.P. 1837-8, "Combination of Workmen", p. 265; "Report of the Factory Commissioners", 1833, XX p. 752; cited in Smelser Op. c i t . , p. 190. 27. Smelser, Op. c i t . , p. 195. 28. H.I. Dutton and J.E. King, Ten Percent and No Surrender, The Preston  Strike, 1853-1854, 1951, p. 9. 29. Ibid., p. 9. 30. Ibid., p. 14. 31. Ibid., p. 14. , 32. Ibid., p. 14. 33. Smelser, Social Change in the Industrial Revolution, 1959, p. 228. 34. Ibid., p. 235. 35. Ibid., p. 236. 36. John C. Holly, "The Two Family Economies...", Journal of Family  History, p. 60. 37. Michael Young and Peter Willmott, The Symmetrical Family, 1975, cited by John C. Holly, Journal of Family History, p. 67. 38. Barbara Drake, Women in Trade Unions, 1950, p. 5. 39. Ibid., p. 6 and see Table V. 40. Edwin Hopwood, A History of the Lancashire Cotton Industry and the  Amalgamated Weavers' Association, 1969, p. 27. 41. Ibid., p. 28. - 41 -42. Dutton and King, Ten Percent and No Surrender, The Preston Strike,  1853-1854, 1981, p.~W. 43. Ibid., p. 20. 44. Edwin Hopwood, A History of the Lancashire Cotton Industry and the  Amalgamated Weavers' Association, 1969, pp. 47-48. 45. Joseph L. White, The Limits of Trade Union Militancy, The Lancashire  Textile Workers, 1910-1914, 1978, Chapter 3. 46. Drake, Op. c i t . p. 51. 47. Michael Anderson, Family Structure in Nineteenth Century Lancashire, 1971, p. 147. 48. Ibid., p. 29. 49. Ibid., p. 30. 50. Ibid., p. 30. 51. John C. Holly, "The Two Family Economics of Industrialization; Factory Workers in Victorian Scotland," Journal of Family History, Spring 1981, p. 61. - 42 -CHAPTER III MISSION TO DIFFUSE FAMILY LIMITATION INFORMATION ABORTED It is a pity your friend Malthus had not been a physician, instead of a member of the Church, as probably he might have been more successful than Mr. Owen1 in discovering a check for population.l The above quote from correspondence to David Ricardo implies that the decrease of a pauper population might better be solved by medical science than by the moral economic, albeit said to be "s c i e n t i f i c " , solutions proposed by Malthus and Owen. In other words, increasing pauperism cannot be halted by shifting the moral responsibility for the poor onto the poor themselves or by removing a l l responsibility for their welfare from them; a "check on population" must include an understanding of the medical issues involved; this understanding should be the contribution of physicians. In this chapter, I shall argue that physicians in the nineteenth century did not really provide more insight into the complexity of population change than did moralists or economists. Indeed, physicians too tended to subscribe to the notion that morals, poverty and health were causally related. Thus, the reproductive problems of the working classes were either misunderstood or ignored largely because moral and economic concerns tended to overshadow the health issues involved. - 43 -The name Robert Thomas Mai thus is inextricably linked with any discussion on population change in the nineteenth century. Relating the issue of poverty to population was at the centre of debate for decades, but i t assumed greater specificity with the publication in 1798 of Mai thus 1  Essay on the Principle of Population. Mai thus maintained that the poor were responsible for their sorry state. He advocated nothing less than the total abolition of a l l statutory r e l i e f to the poor. A guarantee of r e l i e f tended to increase population by encouraging improvident marriages and the begetting of children without thought to their future support; since the supply of food ordinarily increased at a rate far slower than that of the increase of population, a policy which actually encouraged such growth was not rational. 2 According to Malthus, any assistance to the poor was against natural law: A man is born into a world already possessed i f he cannot get subsistence from his parents on whom he has just demand, and i f society do not want his labour, has no claim or right to the smallest portion of food, and in fact has no business to be where he i s . At Nature's mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him. She t e l l s him to be gone and will quickly execute her orders.3 The misery that the poor would experience would serve as a "positive" check. If the poor wanted to avoid misery, they would have to learn to limit their numbers; deferred marriage and abstinence were the logical "preventative checks". Thus, the poor could take control of their own circumstances and improve them. Owen, on the other hand, believed that a man's character is not made, by him but for him; that i t has been formed by circumstances of which he has no control; that he is not a proper subject - 44 -either of praise or blame. These principles of the "irresponsibility of man" and of early influences are the basis of Owen's whole system of education and social amelioration of pauperism.4 These two views as to the cause of poverty have, to a large extent, circumscribed various solutions to the pauper problem proposed and debated throughout the nineteenth century. 5 In general, the "political right", the Conservatives and Liberals, tended to accept the Malthusian explanation while the "political l e f t " , the "budding Socialists", argued that poverty was the result of an inequitable distribution of wealth. 6 When i t was noted that population was indeed declining, particularly in the textile towns, i t was assumed that Malthus' message was getting through to the working classes and volitional family limitation was indeed being practiced. The argument has been made elsewhere that neither the "political right" nor the "political l e f t " , for that matter, had much influence in persuading working classes to limit their families. 7 I tend to agree in part with this thesis; any entanglement with Malthusian economic theories which attempted to shift f u l l responsibility for the welfare of their families onto the poor themselves must have prompted the working classes to reject such a message outright. Certainly, the anti-poor law movement in the mid-thirties, forties and early f i f t i e s i s indicative of working-class antagonism to Malthusian arguments. On the other hand, working-class leaders during this period certainly had great success in organizing working classes in the north in opposition to the Malthusian-inspired New Poor Law. - 45 -The main architects of the New Poor Law Amendment Act were Malthus, Jeremy Bentham, Nassau Senior and Edwin Chadwick. Malthus and Bentham were responsible for the content of the B i l l . Senior and Chadwick were guided by Malthus' interpretation of the old Poor Laws in terms of the new science of poli t i c a l economy. According to Malthus: The poor-laws of England tend to depress the general condition of the poor in these two ways. Their f i r s t obvious tendency is to increase population without increasing the food for i t s support ... and as the provisions of the country must in consequence of the increased population be distributed to every man in smaller proportions, i t is evident that the labour of those who are not supported by parish assistance will purchase a smaller quantity of provisions than before and consequently more of them must be driven to apply for assistance. Secondly, the quantity of provisions consumed in the workhouse ... diminished the shares that would otherwise belong to more industrious and more worthy members (of society) ...8 Any system of r e l i e f was, from a s t r i c t l y populationist or biological point of view, questionable because of the burdens i t placed on the more "responsible" members of the working class. The proponents of the New Poor Law seized on Malthus' condemnation of charity so that they could guiltlessly keep down poor rates. The House of Lords was told in 1834: Anything more mischievous, anything more fatal to the country, anything more calculated to multiply the numbers of the poor, cannot be conceived than the applying to them of any regular and fixed provision... Those who framed the statute of Elizabeth were not adept in p o l i t i c a l science -- 46 -they were not acquainted with the true principles of population - they knew not the true principle upon which to frame a preventative check, or favour the prudential check to the unlimited increase of the people.9 Thus the New Poor Law which replaced the Elizabethan Law was designed to correct the "abuses" of the r e l i e f system. Working-class women were considered the worst abusers of the Old Poor Law because, save for a few years before and after marriage, they were said to spend their entire lives on r e l i e f . 1 0 Assistance for the care of children from married or unmarried parents was considered a "bonus offered to the promiscuous".11 In the future, r e l i e f would be more d i f f i c u l t to obtain, especially for able-bodied women and men, except in a workhouse. If the poor wanted to avoid the misery of the workhouse, they should not marry or have children until they could support both themselves and a family. The Old Poor Law's direct allowance system to able-bodied labourers was based on the price of bread, and the minimum standard for the support of a labourer and his family was estimated by the Parish. Should the wages of a labourer not come up to this level, the difference was paid out of the parish rates. Local authorities, wanting to keep rates down and very aware that i t was less expensive to give a man a small amount of money in addition to wages rather than support him and his family entirely from rates, would occasionally assist a man with a family in getting employment. "As a result, i t was the number of mouths a labourer had to feed with the possibility of having to be fed by the parish which determined a labourer's - 47 -priority in getting employment."1^ A single man would not be as costly to the parish and would therefore not get special consideration when jobs became available. The Commissioners of the New Poor Law saw this practice as encouraging "idleness and profligacy". 1 3 Chadwick and Senior were not s t r i c t Malthusians and therefore did not propose total abolition of r e l i e f but effective control. This was to be done in accordance with the principle of "less e l i g i b i l i t y " which basically meant that a pauper's "situation on the whole shall not be made really or apparently so eligible as the situation of the independent labourer of the lowest c l a s s " : 1 4 A l l r e l i e f whatever to able-bodied persons or to their families otherwise than in a well-regulated workhouse shall be declared unlawful. 1 5 The b i l l was f i r s t implemented in the South of England and met with opposition, but nowhere was there more organized opposition to this Poor Law Amendment Act as in the North. 1 6 ( Every popular leader regarded the New Poor Law as an instrument of class host i l i t y . They never doubted that the Amendment Act was what the proponents assured parliament that i t was not, "a Malthusian b i l l designed to force the poor to break up their families, emigrate and work for lower wages.17 Edsall maintains that: - 48 -Only i f i t is realized that the opposition leaders sincerely believed that the New Poor Law was designed in accordance with the strictest dictates of Malthusian and laissez-faire philosophy as the f i r s t step towards the abolition of statutory r e l i e f for the poor is much of what they said i n t e l l i g i b l e . 18 Certainly, the workers were quick to follow their leaders. The resistance to the Amendment Act moved into high gear in the spring of 1836. With an Assistant Poor Law Commissioner already touring the North, resistance had to be organized immediately. All of the major anti-Poor Law leaders who had been prominent in the factory reform campaign made the transition from one issue to the other smoothly. It meant that, within weeks instead of months, a wel 1-organized resistance materialized. 1 9 During the early weeks of 1837, virtually every major town in the textile d i s t r i c t s held at least one public anti-Poor Law meeting. 2 0 Ten thousand people showed up at a rally in Huddersfield and proceeded to march on the workhouse.21 The Assistant Poor Law Commissioner escaped through a back door and the crowd subsequently destroyed the workhouse. The founders of the South Lancashire Anti-Poor Law Association, rather than having to overcome any local inertia, found that a l l they had to do was "channel the rising tide of anti-Poor Law feeling, and i t s main problem was in keeping pace with local sentiment". 2 2 A great protest meeting held in Bradford in late 1837 and attended by three of the main leaders, Oastler, - 49 -0'Conner and Bull, proved to be "not an extraordinary response to an extraordinary situation but one of the f i r s t of a long line of larger, longer and noisier meetings".23 Oastler wrote to Lord John Russell: If the church, the throne and the aristocracy are determined to rob the poor man of his liberty, of his l i f e , and of his children, then i s the church no longer of Christ, then are the nobles no longer safeguards of the People; then are they a l l worse than useless; then with their bitterest foes would I cry, Down with Them, Down with Them All to the Ground.24 Indeed, the Assistant Commissioners feared for their lives as i t was obvious that the opposition to the New Poor Law in the North had the confidence of the people and could be " f a i r l y certain of carrying the population of this area in whatever course of action i t decided to take". 2 5 The popular resistance to the New Poor Law in the North, I suggest, i s a very strong indication that the textile workers' declining family size was not as the result of the Malthusian message that they must limit their numbers by marrying late and abstaining from sexual intercourse until they could support a family. Litchfield has shown that early marriages were indeed common among textile workers. 2 6 Moreover, the "abuses" that the New Poor Law was to correct were not prevalent in the North. Illegitimacy was lower for Lancashire than i t was average for the rest of England, and textile workers were found to be less - 50 -p r o l i f i c than any other occupational group. There was some suspicion that, rather than delaying marriage or abstaining from sexual intercourse, working-class women were using contraceptives. 2 7 The s t r i c t Malthusians saw the utilization of contraceptives as a threat to the moral and economic fabric of society because i t allowed the working classes to circumvent the positive and preventative checks on poverty and thus not be forced to take responsibility for their improvidence. The disciples of Bentham, however, did not hold that u t i l i z i n g contraceptives was in some way circumventing God's moral laws. In 1823, Francis Place, a Benthamite, distributed handbills in working-class d i s t r i c t s , explaining the use of the sponge and withdrawal method of contraception. He obtained support from Richard Carlile who published several tracts on birth-control methods, describing the use of the sponge for women, the glove for men and also the withdrawal method. The American physician Charles Knowlton's Fruits of Philosophy was the last of the early nineteenth-century tracts which, in addition to what was already published, added the information that a saline solution should be used together with the sponge. Although these early "birth-controllers", as they came to be called, offered the working classes a way of avoiding Malthus' options of either misery or abstinence, they nevertheless seemed to agree with the Malthusians that the poor were responsible for their own distress. Place and Carl i l e , for example, took the position that unions could not drive wages up beyond a level determined by the forces of supply and demand.28 They stressed that i f the lower classes restricted their numbers they - 51 -could demand higher pay. The entanglement with Malthusian economics tended to open the birth-controllers to attacks in the press that their theories were class biased in favour of the ruling c l a s s e s . 2 9 II The defense of birth control which began with the utilitarians in the 1820's was fi n a l l y institutionalized in 1877 with the formation of the Malthusian League. This was also the year of the famous Bradlaugh-Besant t r i a l in which Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant were charged with distributing obscene literature. The year 1877 is often considered crucial in any discussion of birth control, because these two events seemed to coincide with the steady decline of the birth rate and therefore were believed to be causally related. Official s t a t i s t i c s , however, published after 1900 but extending back to 1850 show that some birth rates peaked long before the 1870's which would indicate that neither the t r i a l nor the formation of the League can be credited with "causing" the birth rate to decline. Rosanna Ledbetter has argued that the League actually hindered the acceptance of contraceptives by the working classes because of i t s adherence to a s t r i c t Malthusian economic analysis of society which made much of i t s teaching unacceptable to labour. 3 0 - 52 -The major opposition to Malthusians generally and to the League specifically came precisely from working-class spokesmen and organized socialist groups such as the Socialist Democratic Federation, and the Socialist League, arguing on behalf of labour's right to partake of the profits that industrialization was producing.31 Moreover, working-class moral critique drew from Christian teaching on charity and interdependence of Christians. 3 2 (The Church did not really enter into the debate, leaving the arguments to the political organizations.)33 Basically, the socialists argued that the task of overcoming poverty was to redistribute the nation's wealth, not to dissuade the poor from marrying or to persuade them to use birth control so that they would not require higher wages. The Social Democratic Federation and the Socialist League were adamant that the problem of poverty could not be solved by the worker limiting his family. A member of the S.D.F. expresses the socialists' view well: . . . its (poverty) remedy is not individual but social; not racial, but class, not a question of birth rate, but one of wealth distribution; not lack of production, but in existence. And this disease, a scourge of capitalism, will not be remedied with poison in the womb or even palliative continence that really thrives at the expense of others' lust.34 By the end of the 1880's a strong nationally organized trade union movement out of which the British Labour Party would emerge also maintained that poverty was not caused by overpopulation. The solution to poverty was the reorganization of the means of production. Contrary to Malthusian - 53 -thinking, they argued that, i f the poor reduced their numbers, wages would remain the same or f a l l because the market price of wages followed the natural price or level at which a worker and his family could sustain themselves. Any messages that might have been sent to the working classes by the major soci a l i s t organizations were against birth control. Birth control practices whether for fear of poverty or for the intention of augmenting possessions were considered individualistic and antisocial. The moderate Fabian socialists, however, who were not interested in revolution but wanted more state control of institutions, could, like the birth-controllers, understandably have alienated working classes with their message that limited families were a duty. Harvey Mitchell in Workers and  Protest has pointed out that the Fabian Beatrice Webb was not generally motivated by "compassion" for the working cla s s e s . 3 5 What the Webbs, Shaws and Wells wanted was a more efficient society. The Fabians were very much concerned that society was degenerating because mostly the "better stock" was limiting i t s families while the increase in population was coming from "inferior" stock. The Webbs advised that: In Greater Britain at this moment, when half, or perhaps two-thirds of the married people are regulating their families, children are being freely born to Irish Roman Catholics and Polish, Russian and German Jews, on the one hand and to the th r i f t l e s s and irresponsible... largely the casual labourers and other denizens of the one room tenements of our great c i t i e s on the other. This particular 25 percent of our population... is producing 50 - 54 -percent of our children. This can hardly result in anything but national deterioration; or an alternative, in this country gradually fa l l i n g to the Irish and the Jews.36 The Webbs did note that some working classes were limiting their families and singled out the cotton operatives: There can be no doubt that the practice of deliberately taking steps to l i m i t the size of the family has, during the last twenty years, spread widely among the factory operatives and skilled artisans of Great Britain.37 The Webbs believed that there was no fear of some sort of s t e r i l i t y developing, but bemoaned the fact that the "less intelligent" were not emulating the artisan: This change implies, on the part of both husband and wife, a large measure of foresight, deliberateness, and self-control, which is out of reach of the less intelligent and more self-indulgent classes, and d i f f i c u l t for the very poor, especially for the occupants of one-roomed houses.38 The Webbs wanted a more egalitarian society but one where the "intelligent" were the norm. They suggested that the state provide f a c i l i t i e s , education and rewards for the right kind of mothers to ensure they would abandon a l l other careers for the sake of motherhood. Their message could not be considered as having relevance for a large number of working class poor. - 55 -Had the various influential groups in the nineteenth century been able to r id themselves of Malthusian dogma, eugenics and inoperable solutions, their messages might have had relevance for the working classes. Had family limitation been encouraged for reasons of health, since the immediate benefits of fewer pregnancies are indeed health benefits, one would have expected to find a more healthy and vigorous working class than was in fact the case. The investigations which were precipitated by the Boer War emphasized that the danger facing the nation was not too large a population but that of a sickly one. 3 9 r However, the medical profession i t s e l f which should have been in the vanguard of health promotion and family planning was more concerned with the moral and social implications of family limitation. We do not know how many working-class people ever visited a doctor, but i f the message in private was the same as what was said in public, i t cannot have served as "enlightenment" or assistance in checking population. The explicit message from doctors was both hostile to birth control and misleading to the patient. For the early part of the century, the medical profession maintained an o f f i c i a l silence regarding family limitation, although when questioned individually during the course of inquiries into factory conditions, as we shall see in the next chapter, doctors expressed disgust that tracts on birth control were being distributed in the factory towns. During the last few decades of the century, some doctors openly supported birth control but the medical profession as a whole remained adamantly opposed to the end of our period. Why did the medical profession take the position that a l l birth - 56 -control was despicable, harmful and tantamount to infanticide? F i r s t l y , the association of contraception with quackery, self-help and to some extent prostitution made i t an unrespectable study for doctors; secondly, some doctors may really have believed that contraceptives were harmful; and thirdly, because doctors had not studied the subject seriously, they tended to confuse contraception and abortion. In a speech before the Obstetrical Section of the British Medical Assocation in 1878, C.H. Routh accused advocates of birth control of advancing "sexual fraudulency, conjugal onanism and indirect i n f a n t i c i d e " . 4 0 The medical profession did not want to even acknowledge that questions regarding control of "birth" and therefore " l i f e " were medical issues. The Medical Times and Gazette protested that the question had been directed to doctors: We cannot find words sufficiently strong to express utter abhorrence and condemnation of the idea of discussing such a question as a purely medical one. It is not a medical question and will never become so ...41 It is unlikely that many doctors f e l t free to advise their patients on methods of family limitation. As late as 1904, Taylor, president of the British Gynaecological Society whom I have already quoted in the previous chapter, was adamant that no advice "in favour of" birth control should be given, however, he believed doctors should study the subject: - 57 -In the Medical Profession i t s e l f the evils of prevention both immediate and remote should be studied more closely, and explained to such patients as need direction and advice. No advice should be given in favour of i t without special consideration of the subject in a l l i t s bearings and due consideration.42 Some of the "bearings and considerations" in the president's view are spelled out in his 1904 presidential address to the British Gynaecological Society; f i r s t l y , disease follows in the wake of contraceptive practices: It would be strange indeed i f so unnatural a practice, one so destructive to the best l i f e of the nation should bring no danger or disease in i t s wake, and I am convinced after many years of observation that both the methods of prevention whether by withdrawal or by the use of injection or shields, or medicated suppositories that can be regarded as innocuous ... the health and especially the mental and moral stamina of those who use these checks is slowly undermined ...43 Taylor was specific: In one or two instances I have known acute peritonitis to immediately follow the use of an injection after sexual intercourse. The cervical canal appears to be often unusually patent at this time, and the danger is neither an unimportant nor isolated one. In another instance I was consulted for an acute purulent vaginitis directly following the use of a mechanical shield ...44 These were the physical hazards, but danger to the mental faculties was even greater: * - 58 -... far more common is that chronic impairment of the nervous system which frequently follows the long-continued use of any preventive measures, ... This chronic impairment of nervous energy of which I am now speaking, often referred to under the name of neurasthenia, and s t i l l more recently under that of 'brain-flag' has many causes ... i t is especially marked in many of these cases of sexual onanism ... The health and normal stamina of those who use these 'checks' is slowly undermined.45 Condoms, sponges, douches and drugs were a l l attacked, which by their unnatural nature could only "damage and derange" the user. 4 6 Even abstinence was only to be tolerated in very special instances: My own opinion is that while abstinence in married l i f e is perfectly allowable and may have, as I have suggested a high moral hededitary value, no a r t i f i c i a l prevention is advisable save that which is produced by operation, when deformity or grave disease imperatively demands it.47 Taylor believed that women's bodies suffered more from not bearing children than from repeated pregnancies. When pregnancies are prevented: ... The ovaries suffer and the woman suffers with them -far more, as a rule, than she would by repeated childbearing. Widely as the practice of prevention has spread, you will s t i l l have to go to mothers of large families i f you want to point to the finest and healthiest examples of advanced British matronhood.48 Taylor was convinced that seminal f l u i d had a therapeutic effect on women. He pointed to the injection of "testicular juices" and the remarkable results in cases of se n i l i t y , irrespective of the sex of the patient. He suggested that: - 59 -... some tonic constituent of the seminal fl u i d may be taken up by the uterus, and thus affect the general organism; and there is nothing unreasonable in the suggestion that such absorption may allay the exhaustion which, without i t , is liable to follow the act of connection ... the resulting imperfect acts of sexual congress appear to be directly harmful.49 Fatigue could thus be allayed and was not a reason to limit births. Nor were "disastrous" pregnancies adequate reason for family limitation: ... repeatedly disastrous pregnancies may be changed into ones of healthy type and character, solely by what amounts to a special and more liberal dietary before and during pregnancy, and much of the partial collapse and ill- h e a l t h that is apt to follow parturition and accompany lactation may be modified or altogether avoided by due provision and direction for hygienic requirements of mother and child, particularly as regards rest and food.50 Taylor, although from Birmingham, ignored that rest was a luxury in which working women could not indulge. The changing economic conditions under which women entered factories increased their working time considerably. Taylor, nevertheless, maintained that: The increased work and self-sacrifice also necessitated by the growth of the family ... a l l have their ennobling effect.51 This sort of evidence suggests that the medical profession, despite i t s privileged position of being able to communicate directly with the patient in need of advice, was not providing working-class women with viable options. Despite the continued opposition of the doctors, the birth rate - 60 -continued to plunge downward. In the last decades of the century, i t plunged from 34.1 per thousand in 1870-72 to 24.5 per thousand in 1910-12.52 Doctors suspected that midwives, chemists and herbalists were assisting women in abortion. "In some of the manufacturing d i s t r i c t s " , declared the Cottage Physician, the "use of large doses of Epsom or Glauber's salts is understood to be very common."53 The low illegitimacy rate of the factory towns of Lancashire was thought to be the result of women resorting to abortion. "The deduction we draw" wrote W.R. Greg, a medical officer, " i s also materially confirmed by the practice, which is painful to state, i s far from uncommon among the abandoned females of these dist r i c t s of destroying prematurely the f r u i t and evidence of their g u i l t . " 5 4 Dr. Lyon Playfair claimed that indeed infanticide was being practiced in the factory d i s t r i c t s . 5 5 It is unlikely that the messages percolating down to the working classes, which we have examined here, provided them with any new knowledge or techniques that would have assisted them in making deliberate decisions to limit their families. Propagandists for and against birth control ignored the reality that, in family planning, health care and short-term economics must be inextricably linked to have relevance for the working classes. The family faced with repeated and often disastrous pregnancies, medical b i l l s , and no safe way of correcting the vicious cycle does not contemplate the national good. The medical profession, which had direct contact with at least some of the families in need of advice, withheld information partly out of ignorance but also out of disgust. - 61 -Despite the general opposition to birth control, the birth rate continued to decline. The suspicion was that abortion was on the increase. However, to differentiate between deliberate and spontaneous miscarriages would have been almost impossible in most cases, even, as we shall see in Chapter V, for the women themselves. The Webbs maintained that "some cause" was operative in reducing family size that had not been operative in the early part of the century. They did not believe however that "some form of s t e r i l i t y " was developing; I suggest that there was. The polluted environments, the corollary of the factory system, in which the working classes found themselves in ever greater numbers during the second half of the century, were suspected by some enquirers to be hazardous to reproduction. In the next chapter, I will contrast the polluted environments of the general cotton factory in Lancashire with the "controlled" environment of "ideal" mills and examine how contemporary observers evaluated their respective effect on families. - 62 -NOTES TO CHAPTER III 1. Piero Straffa and M.H. Dobb (eds.), The Works and Correspondence of  David Ricardo, Cambridge, 1962, p. 71. 2. T.R. Malthus, An Essay on the Principles of Population, 1st ed. 1798, New York Random House, 1860, p. 303. 3. Ibid., p. 531. 4. John Butt, editor, Robert Owen, Prince of Cotton Spinners, David & Charles Ltd., England, 19/1, p. 13. 5. Rosanna Ledbetter, The Organization That Delayed Birth Control, 1972, p. 3. 6. Angus McLaren, Birth Control in Nineteenth Century England, p. 255. 7. Loc. c i t . 8. Malthus, Op. c i t . , p. 303. 9. Corrected Report of the Speech of the Lord Chancellor in the House of  lorcls, London 1834, pp. », 29-3U, cited Tn Nicolas C. Edsall, The Anti-Poor Low Movement 1834-1844, Mauchester, 1971, p. 20 and McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 45. 10. G. Glover, Observations on the Present State of Pauperism in England,  London, 1817, pp. 1-4, cited in McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 45T 11. J.P. Kay, The Moral and Physical Condition of the Working Classes, London, 1832, p. 4. 12. N. Edsall, The Anti-Poor Law Movement, 1834-44, 1971, p. 4. 13. Loc. c i t . 14. Edsall, Op. c i t . , p. 7. 15. Poor Law Commissioners, "Report of H.M. Commissioners for Inquiring into the Administration and Practical Operation of the Poor Laws", B.P.P., 1834, p. 146. 16. Edsall, Op. c i t . , p. 129. 17. Ibid., p. 76. 18. Ibid., p. 22. 19. Ibid., p. 57. - 63 -20. Ibid., p. 69. 21. Ibid., p. 95-96. 22. Ibid., p. 123. 23. Loc. c i t . 24. Northern Star, 20 January 1938, cited Ibid., p. 124. 25. Ibid., p. 143. 26. R. Burr Litchfield, "The Family and the M i l l : Cotton Mill Work, Family Work Patterns, and F e r t i l i t y in Mid-Victorian Stockport", The Victorian  Family, Anthony Wohl, ed., 1978, p. 183. 27. Norman E. Himes, "The Birth Control Hand B i l l s of 1823", Lancet, New  Series, 3, August 6, 1927, pp. 313-17; Richard Charlile, What is Love?  Containing Most Important Instructions for the Prudent Regulation of  the Principle of Love and the Number of the Family, 1826, cited in McLaren, Op. c i t . p. 52. 28. McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 53. 29. Ibid., p. 54. 30. Rosanna Ledbetter, The Organization That Delayed Birth Control: A  History of the Malthusian Leagues 1877-1927, 1972, passim. 31. Ibid., p. 2. 32. McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 64. 33. Loc. c i t . 34. Guy Aldred, The Religion and Economics of Sex Oppression, London 1906, p. 36. 35. Harvey Mitchell and Peter Stearns, Workers and Protest ..., 1971, p. 39. 36. Sidney Webb, The Moral Aspects of Socialism, London 1896, Fabian Tract 72. 37. Webbs, Industrial Democracy (London 1897), p. 638. 38. Webbs, Industrial Democracy, 1897, p. 638. 39. A. Watt Smyth, Physical Deterioration, 1904, cited by McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 188. 40. C.H. Routh, Physical Evils i i i , pp. 8, 9, cited McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 130. 41. McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 130. 42. John W. Taylor, On the Diminishing Birth Rate, London, 1904, p. 23. 43. Ibid., p. 12. 44. Ibid., p. 13. 45. Loc. c i t . 46. McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 125. 47. Taylor, Op. c i t . , p. 23. 48. Ibid., p. 16. 49. Ibid., p. 15. 50. Ibid., p. 23. 51. Ibid., p. 16. 52. McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 116. 53. Cottage Physician, London, 1825, p. 59, cited in McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 81. 54. W.R. Greg, An Inquiry into the State of the Manufacturing Population, London, 1831, p. 25; see also P. Gaskell, The Manufacturing Population of England, London, 1833, p. 85; William Dodd, The Factory System Illustrated, London, 1842, p. 26; Lyon Playfair, Report on the State of Large Towns in Lancashire, London, 1845, 128 f f . , McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 63. 55. cf. 11, McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 88. - 65 -CHAPTER IV  SATANIC MILLS VS. IDEAL MILLS ' And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded h i l l s And was Jerusalem built here Among those dark Satanic Mi 11 si In this chapter, I contrast the unwholesome environments of the "Satanic Mills" in general with the "controlled" environments of model mills and examine their respective effect on the operatives' occupations and health as observed by contemporaries of the nineteenth century. Their observations tend to support my contention that environmental factors impinged on cotton operatives in the work place and may have significantly influenced family size. The Registrar General, commenting on the " F e r t i l i t y of Marriage Report 1851-1911" contained in the 1911 Census, drew special attention to the fact that the authors of the "Report" had not been able to account for the consistently small families of operatives engaged in the weaving processes of the textile trade in contrast to the relatively larger families of those working in the spinning section of the same trade. He suggested that "the explanation is probably to be found largely in the difference between the occupations of wives." 2 The Registrar General may have been on the right track. Certainly, voluntary limitation theories which we examined in the last chapter do not account for the variations in working-class f e r t i l i t y - 66 -patterns of operatives living in the same county, engaged in the same trade but in different job categories. The Registrar General seems to have inferred that the explanation was possibly to be found in the different environments of the female spinners and weavers. An association between contaminated environments and illness, however ill-defined, had been suggested by social reformers early in the century. Some enquirers, as we shall see, actually suggested that an association between dust and reproductive impairment was probable. However, poverty, production and morality were more of an issue than health for a large part of the nineteenth century. It therefore took a long time for health to emerge as an important issue when assessing the effect of the factory system on the working classes. In the literature of the nineteenth century, there is to be found, of course, both strong opposition to, and great support for, the factory system, depending on the Weltanschauung of the particular writer. Testimony, therefore, can be biased according to the individual's purpose in providing the information. William Blake's "dark Satanic Mills", so often invoked in the name of social reform, were viewed as consequences of mechanistic laws of Bacon, Newton and Locke, of which the industrial landscape was an expression. 3 For Blake, only a change of heart and mind of the nation could create a new society less hideous and imprisoning than that created by "mechanistic rationalism". 4 William Cooke Taylor, on the - 67 -other hand, son of a manufacturer, saw the factory system as a vehicle to create social happiness. After his second tour through the textile towns to see whether he had erred in his f i r s t positive impression, he wrote in 1844: But this by no means refutes my position that the factory system may be so conducted and in instances within my own knowledge has been so conducted, as to create and diffuse social happiness.5 Cooke Taylor added, that though he was "firmly convinced that factories are not evil in themselves ... they may be so ill-conducted as to prove much e v i l ; and that cases may arise ... to render an authoritative interference between the employer and the employed desirable i f not necessary." 6 It was during the course of government enquiries into factory reform that much of the primary material utilized in this chapter was generated. Although the enquiries were largely concerned with economic and moral issues, implicit in the testimony was the concept that perhaps the poor were not totally responsible for their misery; other factors, particulary health factors could be affecting production and the social condition of the operative class. The environment in which the operatives found themselves for ten, twelve, sometimes fourteen hours was frequently described as "unwholesome" and "impure". In selecting testimony for the purpose of assessing the impact of environmental factors on the operatives, I have attempted to include information from witnesses who had direct involvement with both "unwholesome" and "well-conducted" factories. Whether the - 68 -testimony was in favour or against the factory system, for or against government intervention, cotton dust contaminated environments were cited frequently as a cause of the operatives' distress. Actually, man had been inhaling harmful dust for centuries but occupations carried on in the open air probably produced too l i t t l e dust to have a noticeable effect on health over the relatively short l i f e span.7 Also, prior to mechanization, cotton was washed before processing which generally kept dust levels down and explains why symptoms of i l l health were not commonly associated much earlier with processing cotton. "With machines' came dust" and descriptions of abnormal conditions of the respiratory tract among cotton operatives began to appear in literature a l l over the industrializing world. A number of investigations are of note in bringing health problems related to cotton dust into focus during our period. The investigation into factory reform in the 1830's and 40's was initiated to assess the economic and social problems being brought to the attention of the government. On the one hand, there were reports that operatives were unproductive, given to drunkenness, neglect of the family, promiscuity and possibly procuring il l e g a l abortions. Poverty was seen as a major problem. Debate spread into English Parliament, newspaper and pub. Was poverty, as Malthus had said, an inevitable concomitant of the pressure of population on resources, or was i t the result of an inequitable distribution of wealth, brought about by an economic system created and - 69 -controlled by the few to the detriment and impoverishment of the many?0 Was reform f u t i l e , merely encouraging indolence and self-gratification? Or did the government have responsibility in ensuring that the owners of the means of production treated their workers fairly? These questions were debated and sometimes tested throughout the nineteenth century. Spearheading the research into factory reform in the 1830's and 1840's was Lord Ashley. Like most of his associates, he assumed that the problems affecting the cotton operatives' families would be greatly alleviated i f women did not work in factories. Recognizing the economic impossibility of such a proposal, he argued that the reduction of working hours for women and children would ensure that women had more time to care for the nation's offspring. He emphasized the moral value of the proposed legislation and warned against the social evil of female employment i f not controlled: ... the evil is spreading rapidly and extensively -desolating like a torrent the peace, the economy and the virtue of the mighty masses of the manufacturing dis t r i c t s . Domestic l i f e and domestic discipline must soon be at an end; society will consist of individuals no longer grouped into families; so early i s the separation of husband and wife, of parent and children. 9 The manufacturers were opposed to the Ten Hours B i l l proposed by Lord Ashley for the obvious reason that they believed i t would reduce production. Dr. W. Cooke Taylor, son of manufacturer Robert Taylor, whom I have already quoted, toured the North factory di s t r i c t s and concluded, as most of the manufacturers did, that there should be no interference with free enterprise and that the i l l s of the Factory System could be cured with - 70 -Malthusian economic practice. The poor were responsible for their own misery. If they could not support their children in health i t was because of imprudence on the part of the parent. He claimed that "Whatever is evil and wrong in the condition of the children has arisen from previous evil and wrong in the condition of the parent." 1 0 Cooke Taylor accused Ashley of pseudo-philanthropy "which endeavours to pervert the best feelings of the heart to the basest of pol i t i c a l purpose". 1 1 In his efforts to discredit Ashley, Taylor erroneously stated that Ashley had not visited the mills personally "nor by proxy". He wrote sarcastically: He v i s i t s a cotton mi 11 i Not he truly! He wonders how much such a thing could be proposed to him! A greater wonder is that he did not discover himself to be virtually asserting that the best qualifications for legislating on any subject is utter ignorance of the entire matter."12 Cooke Taylor was wrong; Ashley visited the mills both "by proxy" and personally. His proxy was William Dodd, "a factory cripple" who attracted Lord Ashley's attention with his Narrative of the Experiences and Suffering  of William Dodd a Factory Cripple, Written by Himself. He engaged Dodd as his "helper" in assessing the social evils of the factory system from the working-class point of view. Dodd went on tour of the factory districts 1 just as Cooke Taylor did, sending Ashley reports to support the Ten Hour B i l l . Although Dodd advised Ashley that "there is no doubt that the mills - 71 -and factories here are hot beds of vice and wickedness",1,3 he focused on the problems of i l l health more than on the social behaviour of the operatives. The main theme of Dodd's letters was that the operatives' health was seriously impaired by the long hours of exposure to cotton dust. "I was only a looker on," he writes: How the work people are able to bear i t day after day, year after year, I cannot imagine, i t is no wonder that they are generally pale, sickly looking diminutive people and greatly inclined to asthma and consumption. ... I hear of others dying in decline of asthma at a very early period of life.14 Dodd emphasized his observations by quoting Dr. Kay, a Manchester physician, who had written in 1832: These artisans are frequently subject to a disease in which the sensibilities of the stomach and bowels is markedly excited; the alvine secretions are deranged and the appetite impaired. Whilst this state continues, the patient loses flesh, his features are sharpened, the skin becomes pale, leaden colored, or of yellow hue which is observed in those who have suffered from the influence of tropical climates.15 Dr. Kay also described the progression of the disease which he believed to be specific to those who work in cotton dust environments: - 72 -In many cases which have presented themselves at the Ardwich and Ancoats Dispensary, the disease induced has appeared to me to differ from ordinary chronic bronchitis. In the commencement of the complaint, the patient suffers a distressing pulmonary i r r i t a t i o n from the dust and filaments which he inhales. Entrance into the atmosphere of a mill immediately occasions a short dry cough, which harasses him considerably in the day, but ceases immediately after he leaves the mill and inspires an atmosphere free from foreign molecules. These symptoms became generally more severe; cough is at length very frequent during the day, and continuous even after i t s employments have ceased, disturbing the sleep, and exhausting the strength of the patient, but i t is accompanied with l i t t l e or no expectoration. In this stage, he seeks medical aid. He is harassed with a frequent cough, which is often excited by speaking, slight exertion, or change of temperature. The patient sometimes expectorates a l i t t l e , but the cough is often dry and short, and recurs incessantly. He experiences a diffused and obscure sensation of uneasiness beneath the sternum; in sudden exertion a pectoral oppression ensues, arising as i t were from an inability to dilate the chest freely in the ordinary inspirations. The whole respiratory system evinces a great and early excited i r r i t a b i l i t y . There is l i t t l e febrile action. On the application of the stethoscope, no rales are in general perceptible, the respiratory murmer is scarcely puerile. The patient is easily a f f l i c t e d with acute bronchitis on exposure to its exciting causes and this disease often succeeds the previous complaint.16 Dodd observed that the cotton dust was greatest in areas where preparatory processes were in operation: Those who have no steam around them ... the carders etc., have dust to trouble them which is enough at times to choke them ...17 He warned that the l i f e expectancy of operatives exposed to the dust was much shorter than that of workers employed in dust-free environments. From Leeds, he wrote Ashley of a "worn out" man of forty-three. - 73 -He is very much stuffed with dust ... He has d i f f i c u l t y of breathing, cough and symptoms of an asthma ... and has nearly lost all appetite for food.I 8 To emphasize his point that operatives exposed to a dusty atmosphere had a much shorter l i f e span than that of other workers, he quoted statis t i c s from a Friendly Society's figures: Some of the very best regulated Societies have found that between twenty and thirty years of age, a man in other occupations has a chance of being but l i t t l e more than half a week per annum indisposed. Between 30 and 40 years of age the annual duration of sickness is found to be about two thirds of a week each. But, on referring to Stockport tables we find that in the case of 823 persons therein mentioned, although 790 were under 20 years of age the sickness was very nearly 2 weeks each. Again, the ordinary Benefit members becoming superannuated at about sixty years of age, whereas the factory people, speaking generally are superannuated before they are forty, and some numbers never reach 20.19 The Friendly Societies, descendants of the medieval guilds, were a form of insurance organization. The figures given to Dodd may underestimate the discrepancy between the l i f e span of those operatives who were exposed to cotton dust and the l i f e span of those who were not. The Societies did not always accept members who were "a bad risk". Application for membership had to pass a medical examination and the unfit were rejected. One member of a Friendly Society stated: I was the only one who never passed for the Oddfellows. My sister took me by the hand to the doctor, and we had to pass a doctor in those days to go into a Friendly Society, who then for a penny a week provided you with a free doctor ... The doctor said "Well what do you want?" The - 74 -doctors were very severe in those days. "My mother has sent us to see i f you'll put Bert into the Oddfellows." He said, "You can take him back and t e l l your mother she should have drowned him when he was young and I'm not going to do it."20 Moralists constantly urged the working classes to protect themselves against times of illness by belonging to Friendly Societies but only a minority ever belonged; the stringent rules and high fees may have been the reason. The operatives belonging to the Stockport Friendly Society must have been reasonably good risks at the time of application, and the short l i f e span of the operatives was, in Dodd's view, a serious comment on the occupational hazard of cotton dust. In every d i s t r i c t , in every mill where no ventilation controlled the levels of dust, Dodd described the work force as "sickly". He visited 40 factories in Bolton and stated that a l l had the same dust problems which he had found in most mills throughout Lancashire. 2 1 Of one specific factory in Bolton he wrote: When the person who conducted me through the factory opened the door a scene presented i t s e l f ... I can compare i t to nothing more appropriately than a heavy f a l l of snow, the machines and the people working them, were indistinctly seen; and when we got near them they had more the appearance of an apparition than anything earthly. They were mostly covered with dust and loose particles of cotton which from the nature of the material and the great speed of the machinery must always be the case ... On leaving the place i t required sometime to recover myself sufficiently to enable me to breathe freely.22 He pointed out to Ashley that Dr. Greg, a Lancashire physician who had visited many of the same factories, had found: The air in almost a l l factories i s more or less unwholesome. This of i t s e l f is sufficient to ennervate and destroy a l l energy of frame; but in addition to mere heat the rooms are often ill- v e n t i l a t e d ... and from want of ventilation, the a i r is very imperfectly oxygenated .... In a word the hands employed in these large manufactories breathe foul air for 12 out of 24 hours and we know that few things have so specific an injurious action on the digestive organs as the inhalation of impure air. The small particles of cotton dust with which the air in most rooms of factories i s impregnated, not infrequently lay the foundation of distressing and fatal disease. When inhaled they are a source of great pulmonary i r r i t a t i o n which i f i t continues long, induces a species of chronic bronchitis, which not rarely degenerates into tubercular consumption.23 Dr. Greg's findings paralleled those of Dr. Kay's. In fact many physicians reporting to Lord Ashley had made similar statements. A question repeatedly asked of physicians during Ashley's investigation was: Do you think that labour would be more distressing and injurious i f i t had to be pursued in an atmosphere f u l l of impurities evolved by the materials manufactured, such as the dust from flax, flue from cotton etc., so prevalent often in some departments as to render i t d i f f i c u l t for individuals to see each other at some distance?24 In answer, Dr. Blizard, a witness, stated that the dust, - 76 -... has a very material effect upon the small vessels of the lungs; i t mingles with the mucous from the lining membrane of the lungs; and the air-pipes which become smaller and smaller, until they terminate in what we call vesicles, have their functions impaired ...25 Doctor C.A. Key replied to the inquiry that impure air of the kind described, ... must be productive of disease or exceedingly weaken the body, by preventing the natural changes which the blood ought to undergo by respiration.26 Dr. C.T. Thackrah who had examined fifteen hundred employees in Manchester mills in 1832 told the inquiry that in the "more dusty occupations": I have found that the lungs are sooner or later seriously altered in their capacity; that the power of respiration is diminished ... and a number of other maladies of other parts or systems are connected with, or result from, these diseases of the pulmonary organs. I have had a great number of mill people come to my house at different times for examination; a party, perhaps of ten at once, who were in different departments of the mills; I found these men who had attained the age of from forty to f i f t y almost universally diseased; I am now speaking of the dusty occupations; I do not apply this to mills where there is no dust. I would wish to be distinctly understood in that respect.27 Dodd expressed concern to Ashley that in a l l factories visited he had observed "women working ... t i l l the last stages of pregnancy" 2 8 and pointed out that Dr. Greg had associated the "ill-oxygenated a i r " with i l l health, and subsequently with adverse reproductive outcome: - 77 -... ill-health which prevails among the manufacturing population may be traced to the injurious influences which the weakened and vitiated constitution of women has upon their children. They are often employed in factories some years after their marriage and during pregnancy and up to the very period of their confinement which a l l who have attended to the physiology of the subject know must send their offspring into the world with a debilitated and unhealthy frame ... 2 9 Dodd maintained that in Bolton, "a great many infants are stillborn or die soon after b i r t h " . 3 0 He did not document the source of his information; i t may have been that his contact with the Friendly Societies provided this information. Although workers did not often insure themselves with Friendly Societies against times for il l n e s s , they did against death. Elizabeth Roberts, writing on "Disease Management in the Nineteenth Century", suggests that: The strengths of working-class mores, and the demands of working-class respectability were such that the l i t t l e surplus income there was went not towards health care for the living but towards ensuring a decent funeral for the dead.31 Some employers had "schemes" similar to those provided by Friendly Societies and Dodd may have obtained information on causes of death and money spent on funerals from the former's records, as well as from the latter. We are not certain. It is important to note that Dodd was inferring that the s t i l l b i r t h s were related to the occupational environment. Earlier evidence given to Ashley's committee had made similar inferences. A medical officer Thomas Young, for example, serving as a witness before Ashley's inquiry in 1832 was asked: - 78 -Do you think that considering the peculiar constitution of the females, especially under certain circumstances, the labour of that sex carried to such a degree is peculiarly prejudicial? Have you known any instances in which you have traced consequences resulting from that labour which you think would not have ensued had i t not been so continued?32 Dr. Young responded: Abortion I have certainly witnessed. One case of that is within my recollection, which I shall state. I remember the case of a g i r l who was seized with the pangs of labour while engaged at her work; she was carried to her home by her companions, but before she reached i t she had given birth to a child apparently about the sixth month.33 There was the suggestion that the abortion was of an unintentional nature, caused by the work environment. Indeed very l i t t l e evidence was given Ashley's Committee that would substantiate accusations of intentional abortions being performed. The way the investigators worded their questions, of course, may have greatly biased the dialogue. One of Ashley's concerns, i t will be remembered, was to investigate charges of vice and immorality attributed to the female operatives. The investigators were dumbfounded that the rate of illegitimacy, a measurement of "immorality", was lower in Lancashire than in the rest of Engl and.34 o f 28 surgeons interviewed by Ashley's Committee, 27 stated that the factory operatives were less f e r t i l e than were other occupational groups. 3 5 They were asked how this could possibly be. Many of the doctors agreed that the morals in the factory towns were bad and - 79 -associated the promiscuity of the operatives with their barrenness. The logic was that the high temperatures caused early puberty, which caused the animal passions to develop prematurely resulting in promiscuity and subsequent barrenness. 3 6 The following dialogue with Dr. C.A. Key was typical. The investigators would ask, Will you state your opinion whether labouring in a heated atmosphere would anticipate the period of puberty?37 The doctor answered that i t could be anticipated. He was then asked, Might not that period be s t i l l further anticipated from the circumstances of the indecencies and immorality said to prevail in such establishments? 3 8 Dr. Key responded: I should think that such an effect might be expected to be the result of immoral habits, such as have been described; as they would tend to develop the sexual passions previously to the fu l l maturity of the body.39 He was asked further: Is very early and promiscuous intercourse between the sexes ordinarily attended, as far as the female is concerned, with p r o l i f i c n e s s ? 4 0 Dr. Key stated, "I should be inclined to think to the contrary." 4 1 - 80 -Dr. Samuel Smith was more emphatic: ... every one possessed of common sense and of any knowledge whatever upon such subjects as these knows very well that promiscuous intercourse has a direct tendency to produce s t e r i l i t y ; therefore, I would say, that in the agricultural d i s t r i c t s , the circumstances of intercourse not being followed by conception was the exception; but in manufacturing di s t r i c t s , where intercourse was followed by conception, I would say that that was the exception.42 The enquirers were amazed that there were reportedly fewer illegitimate births in the factory towns than in the agricultural d i s t r i c t s . They assumed that the close proximity of males and females working in factories for hours surely led to increased social and sexual intercourse after work. One of the explanations for the low illegitimacy rate was that "excessive sexual intercourse is one of the causes of barrenness". 4 3 However, there were medical officers giving testimony at the same inquiry who were almost as insightful as Dr. Greg would prove to be. Dr. B.C. Brodie linked diminished fecundity with unhealthy work conditions. When asked: In allusion to the morals in many of the mills and factories where this degree of labour is habitually undergone, i t i s stated by many of the witnesses that they are in a most deplorable state; but that notwithstanding this i t is said that not more illegitimate children are produced by females under those circumstances than by those engaged in agricultural and other pursuits; do you conceive that labour, interfering with the health of the females, diminishes the power of fecundity?44 - 81 -He told the enquiry: I should suppose that females under those circumstances would be less l i k e l y to bear children than females under other circumstances; and that, from this circumstance alone, the number of illegitimate children would be less.45 We can assume that the Commissioners did not accept the concept that the lower f e r t i l i t y of the cotton operatives was the result of immoral behaviour. Commissioner MacKintosh, summing up evidence for Ashley in 1832, commented: In regard to morals, we find that though the statements and depositions of the different witnesses that have been examined are to a considerable degree conflicting, yet there i s no evidence to show that vice and immorality are more prevalent amongst these people considered as a class, than amongst any other portion of the community in the same station and with the same limited means of information.46 Perhaps the Commissioners were simply relieved to be assured that at least Poor Law benefits would not be supporting the fruits of immorality. Ashley, of course, wanted reasons to reduce the hours of work of women and children. An association of long hours of exposure to work and i l l health would provide him with a reason to recommend government intervention. The witnesses singled out the dusty atmosphere of most mills as crucial to the health of the operatives. Implicit and explicit in their statements was that dust which interfered with the respiration of operatives was to - 82 -blame for their fatigue, low productivity, lung, blood and reproductive system malfunction. In sharp contrast to the "Satanic mills" Dodd had described to Ashley, he and others pointed out model mills where the environment was ventilated and the condition of the operatives much improved. It will be remembered that Dr. Thackrah who had examined 1,500 mill workers and had found a l l operatives over 40 diseased, specifically stated, "I do not apply this to mills where there is no dust. I would wish to be distinctly understood in that respect." 4 7 A Dr. J.H. Green advised Ashley's Committee: I am not, indeed prepared to say that the causes adverted to exist universally in our factories, and I am happy to have an opportunity of mentioning an honorable exception in that of Mr. Ashton of Hyde, near Manchester.48 Dr. William Sharp informed the committee that Mr. Wood's mill at Bradford was also ventilated and he knew of no instances of asthma not even amongst the carders. 4 9 Cooke Taylor also mentioned Ashton's mill and a Mr. Taylor's mill in Preston as having ideal work environments. 5 0 William Dodd referred to Ashton and Woods mills as being comparable to Ashworth's model m i l l s . 5 1 It seems that well-ventilated mills were a rarity and l i t e r a l l y stood apart from most other mills. The mills most often singled out as having ideal working conditions are those of Henry Ashworth, the Egerton and New Eagley mills, both located several miles out of Bolton. More details of - 83 -these mills are found in the literature than of any other single m i l l . The evidence of a l l contemporaries who visited these mills was that the dust-free environment was conducive to healthy f a m i l i e s . 5 2 "The work-people here certainly look more healthy than factory people generally," wrote Dodd to Ashley, and attributed their healthy appearances to "well-aired buildings" at both Egerton and New Eagley s i t e s . 5 3 Dodd specifically commented on the children's 5 4 mental productivity noting "some very sharp boys, very quick in arithmetic". 5 5 Henry Ashworth, co-owner with his brother, of the Ashworth Enterprise, led the Lancashire manufacturers who opposed the "Ten Hours" l e g i s l a t i o n . 5 6 Thus, he and Lord Ashley, who had become leader of the Parliamentary Factory Reform Movement after the 1832 election, were representative of the two opposing classes and "often faced each other with antagonism". 5 7 Nevertheless, Ashley noted after his v i s i t s to the Ashworth mills that "they are worth seeing ... they are clean and quite astonishing." He agreed with Dodd's assessment that the "healthy state" of the Ashworth employees was due to the "mighty advantages of ... locality, fine air ..," 5 8 "No visitor to the Ashworth mills ever complained of the conditions of the operatives," wrote Rhodes Boyson in his history of the Ashworth Enterprise, "most were f u l l of praise for a l l they saw."59 Visitors were many and varied including Disraeli, Lord John Manners, Cobden and Bright. 6 0 Friend and opponent of the factory system, alike, particularly praised the ventilatory system in Ashworth's mills. - 84 -"Large fans, driven by the mill engine extracted dust from the atmosphere of the various rooms and the privies also had fans and ventilation." 6 1 Medical officers testifying to the Factory Commission commented on the "effectiveness" 6 2 of the ventilation system. Nassau Senior, in his Letters on the Factory Act described the fans as "perfectly successful". 6 3 Dust from the high velocity of the machinery was controlled in several ways. The machinery was well maintained with sufficient room between i t and the operatives to allow for the dust to settle or to be extracted. 6 4 The Factory Commission commented that Ashworth's machinery was "the newest and most beautifully constructed, fenced off so that operatives would not be close enought to breath dust generated by them".65 Cooke Taylor, commenting on the machinery stated: So much space is occupied by the machinery that crowding is physically impossible. I should be very well contented to have as large a proportion of room and a i r in my own study as a cotton spinner.66 I n i t i a l l y , Ashworth's mills housed spinning f a c i l i t i e s and as early as 1823 were internationally reputed to be "outstanding" because of the excellent v e n t i l a t i o n . 6 7 In 1854, he combined spinning and weaving processes but "maintained his renowned standard of building", the weaving sheds were as well "ventilated as had been the spinning sheds. Temperature was controlled to between 65 and 70 degrees, at least five degrees lower than average temperatures of the mills in Bolton." 6 8 - 85 -The operatives themselves testified to the Factory Commission that their working conditions were good. 6 9 Cooke Taylor commented that the operatives were "not only contented but proud". Certainly, Ashworth did not experience much labour s t r i f e at his mills. It is noteworthy that the mills remained non-union until Henry Ashworth died in 1880 after which the mills were s o l d . 7 0 However, i t may not have been "contentment" alone that kept the operatives from unionizing. Any word that his spinners had attended a union meeting meant immediate dismissal. In the course of the 1836-37 strike, seven spinners were dismissed. 7 1 The Ashworth spinners took no part in the Bolton strike in 1849 against long hours but continued to work eleven hours daily instead of the ten hours decided by the Bolton Union. 7 2 The only major strike that effected the Ashworth mills was from March to May 1861 when the Bolton Masters closed their mills unless operatives agreed to take a wage reduction. 7 3 The operatives eventually gave i n , to the satisfaction of Henry Ashworth. Most strikes in the cotton industry between 1830 and 1880 were concerned with reduction of wages rather than health conditions. Although Ashworth paid ten per cent less than the Bolton l i s t price, his operatives on the whole appeared to be content to remain with him. 7 4 He wrote several pamphlets about the strikers in which he argued that unions were the enemy; a man's interest was the same as his master's. 7 5 He maintained that with "frugality" the operative could save and one day "launch into some respectable business and thereby make provision for himself and family through l i f e " . 7 6 He pointed to himself as an example of a "frugal spinner" who had done w e l l . 7 7 Wages, however, - 86 -were not the basis on which the Ashworth operatives themselves had testified of good conditions; they told the Commission that the Ashworths were concerned with "ventilation, cleanliness and humane conditions". 7 8 One may speculate on what was meant by "humane conditions". Henry Ashworth, leader of the "Long Timers", leader of the Anti-Corn Law League, 7 9 and a Quaker, valued the traditions of Victorian Society; he was a family man and encouraged large families; he built schools and Sunday schools for the children of his employees.80 These gestures may not have been as a l t r u i s t i c as at f i r s t thought. Karl Marx, commenting on Ashworth's ideal enterprise, maintained that Ashworth's motive was profit, not people. 8 1 I n i t i a l l y , Ashworth paid more to the married male operatives than to single males so that men could afford to keep their wives home to care for the c h i l d r e n . 8 2 In 1833, spinners at the Ashworth mills received up to 37s a week while the Bolton spinners received 28s5-3/4d at a time when the Lancashire average was 25s8d. 8 3 However, with the automation of the weaving process and i t s demand for female labour, Ashworth combined his weaving and spinning enterprises and gradually hired more women but dropped wages.84 Nevertheless, whatever Ashworth's motive the condition of his workers was praised by a l l . The families at Ashworth's mills seem to have been large and healthy. 8 5 In 1833, Ashworth employed 500 operatives at his Egerton m i l l , 248 were women, 61 of whom were married. 8 6 In that same year, 150 infants under the age of nine attended the village schools. 8 7 In 1844, John Bright stated that "in the schools of my friends H. and E. Ashworth near - 87 -Bolton there are 316 children in the day school and 615 in the Sunday Schools", 8 8 but some of these children may have come from neighbouring villages. Lord Ashley and Lord John Manners visited the schools in 1844 and were impressed with the well being of the chi l d r e n . 8 9 Ashworth reports that Ashley observed to (him in passing down the road upon the intelligence and quickness of a boy named Lightbound ... and remarked "how providential i t was that there was no great number of those who possessed such superior intellects or there would be d i f f i c u l t i e s in keeping them in their s t a t i o n " . 9 0 Lord John Manners wrote in his diary, "I confess I'm rather alarmed by a l l this hot bed i n t e l l e c t . " 9 1 It is d i f f i c u l t to draw any quantitative conclusions from these figures and statements but the impression given was that there was no shortage of "sharp" healthy children at the Ashworth schools. Rhodes Boyson found "no detailed figures of sickness" for Ashworth's employees. 92 One statist i c a l comparison of illness was recorded by Cooke Taylor who reported that 14% of Egerton Sick Club Members were sick in one year and only one member died as compared with 40% sickness and accident rate for a Sick Club in Stockport in the same year. 9 3 All the sick and needy among Ashworth's workers were supported by the "operatives provident fund". 9 4 In 1867, each operative paid 6d a week to the Sick Club and received 9s a week when sick, 2s on the death of a child, with distribution of all surplus funds to contributors every half year. 9 5 Ashworth stated that, in the same year, operatives also resorted to savings banks or other - 88 -depositories and some "even bought cottages". 9 6 Medical b i l l s were paid by the firm i f a death resulted from illness at the f i r m . 9 7 The Edgerton Sick Club does not appear to have been overused. Only one-third as many members as in the Stockport club reported illness. William Dodd, quoting Dr. Kay and Friendly Society sta t i s t i c s , had advised Ashley that the operatives exposed to dusty environments for a long period did not live much beyond forty years. Ashworth boasted at one point that he had one factory operative who had been employed in his mill for 58 Qft years. 3 0 One of Ashworth's operatives also gave evidence to the Factory Commission that he knew of no spinners dismissed from the Ashworth mills for "age or i n f i r m i t y " . 9 9 Ashworth reported to the Commission that, of 52 spinners employed in his mills, 18 worked 11 years (ever since the mills opened); 42 averaged 7 years service and the other 10 had been there 2-1/2 years. Twenty spinners l e f t before 1841 to become managers of other mills and some opened their own millsJ00 Ashworth wrote Lord Ashley and confirmed that he had never discharged men because of i l l health: As a l l spinners, whether young or old are paid the same price per pound of spinning, the product of an old man is at greater expense by reason of the diminished quantities; this and not il l - h e a l t h may sometimes occasion his discharge; but he frequently receives indulgences in this respect, on account of lengths of servitude or otherwise.101 - 89 -The Ashworth brothers compared the health of their operatives with the health of other occupational groups: There is scarcely an outdoor labourer of f i f t y years of age who is free from rheumatism and other chronic afflications. Not so with the spinner who at age 50 years is hale and healthy ...102 The Ashworths were naturally biased, but I have no available contrary evidence with which to compare their assertions. The Ashworths were proud of their care for their operatives. They believed unions were entirely unnecessary and in fact the enemy of the worker's best interests. Like Robert Owen, the Ashworths saw a future in which conditions and standards of people would continually improve, but unlike Owen, they believed that this would develop from "self-interest and private enterprise".! 0 3 As magistrates, the Ashworth brothers enforced obedience in their villages. As in Robert Owen's New Lanark, the Ashworths had constables patrol the villages nightly. Dodd noted: ... i f any unlucky person is found, he is taken care of for the night, and brought before his master (who is a magistrate) in the morning. His conduct after that is narrowly watched and he must either reform, or go about his business.104 - 90 -Dodd noted further: ... owing to the vigilant eye of~the masters, female workers in Ashworth mills conduct themselves in a more becoming manner than is usual in cotton factories in large towns ... The women, in short, both married and single whether working in the mills or staying at home, seem to be as much afraid of the masters, as of their fathers and husbands J05 It was ironic that the "ideal" environment Dodd was praising for having produced healthy families with many healthy children also was shown to have produced more than i t s share of illegitimate births. Fauchner wrote some years later that at New Eagley, which had a population of 2,000 in 1867; ... notwithstanding the severe discipline which reigns at Turton twenty-four illegitimate births occurred at New Eagley in three and a half years.106 Cooke Taylor believed Fauchner must have exaggerated, but Fauchner insisted these were the figures that Henry Ashworth had given him. Ashworth apparently had told Fauchner that a l l but one of the "seducers" came from outside the Turton establishments, so presumably his discipline could not be f a u l t e d J 0 7 That there were more children and thus also more illegitimate children born may have been due to the less contaminated environment at Ashworth's mills. The factory reform committee registered no complaints, from visitors or operatives alike, of any exploitation or cruelty on the part of the Ashworth brothers, although the hours worked and the wages paid were no more - 91 -favourable than in other mills for the majority of their employees. There were no complaints either of respiratory illnesses, s t i l l b i r t h s , miscarriages or barrenness. The Ashworth operatives' testimony raises the question, of course, how free were the individuals to testify? Dodd implies that they were not particularly free to do so in that they appeared reluctant to speak to him. 1 0 8 It is also significant that Ashworth dismissed spinners who took part in the strike only a few years earlier. Nevertheless, Dodd, who knew of the conflicting views of Ashley and most mill owners, had only praise for the condition of Ashworth's operatives. Although the true conditions, environmental, labor-related, and moral, in Ashworth's mills are not unambiguous, i t appears operatives working in these mills, were healthier than most others. Despite the evidence gathered during the debates on the evils of cotton dust inhalation and the virtues of ventilated mills, the legislators only brought in very minor reforms. The factory act of 1847 limited the hours of work for women and children to ten hours a day. Legislation reducing the men's hours to ten was not passed until 1 8 7 4 J 0 9 No formal recommendation was made regarding dust control at this time. Improvements of this nature were l e f t entirely to free enterprise. Association between cotton dust and i l l health continued to be noted in reports and the press. In 1863, an article appeared in Lancet: The f i r s t process the raw cotton undergoes is the mixing of one staple with another. Much d i r t and dust is disengaged in this operation. The respiration is affected from the dust i r r i t a t i o n the respiratory passage of the mixer, and coughing and sneezing are the frequent - 92 -consequences, which disengage from the bronchial membrane a quality of salty colored expectoration which when placed under the microscope, is seen to consist of very fine short fibres of cotton in air bubbles and mucus ... After passing from the mixers, the cotton passes through the hands of the willowers or scutchers. When ventilation i s not assisted by ventilating chimneys of t i n or wood, which takes off more effectually the dense atmosphere with which the rooms are charged, the willowers and scutchers suffer in the same manner as the cotton mixers. From the immense volocity of the machines used, the revolutions being 1,500 per minute, the quantity of short fibres of cotton set afloat in these rooms is very great. It would be d i f f i c u l t to recognize a man at twelve yards distance from the density of floating fibres, modified of course, very much by a wet or dry day. The strippers, grinders and cardroom hands are engaged in the next process of cotton manufacture. They mostly suffer from a spasmodic cough, sore throat, expectoration of blood, pneumonia, and confirmed asthma, with oppression of the chest ... A carder seldom lives in a cardroom beyond forty years of age. Many have to give up working much younger. Forty-five to f i f t y years are their average ages.110 All these points had been reported to Ashley's investigators. In other parts of the industrial world, similar reports as were published in the Lancet appeared. At a hearing in 1845 for a ten-hour day in U.S., an operative noted: The working time was too long; the meal time was too short. The a i r in the factory was bad; over 150 persons worked in one room for example, where 293 small lamps and 61 large ones burned morning and evening during the winter months. There was no day when fewer than six g i r l s stayed away from work because of ill n e s s ; as many as 30 had been known to remain at home on one day for that reason. In a l l seasons flying l i n t was a source of great discomfort.Ill - 93 -In the same year, investigators in a Belgian factory noted that pulmonary affectations among cardroom workers was most prevalent, as were phithisis and laryngitis. Operatives complained that dust inconvenienced them most on Mondays and Tuesdays. 1 1 2 A report published in Russia in 1851 noted that a large number of operatives suffered from pulmonary - tuberculosis. 1 1 3 In a Switzerland factory, i t was noted in 1872 that dust was particularly present in the air of cardrooms; and that chronic pneumonia, emphysema, asthma and blennorrhea were prevalent. 1 1 4 The 1860's saw some developments in British factory legislation partly as a result of Dr. Headlam Greenhow's reports indicating that dust in factories was responsible for industrial lung disease. The 1864 Factory Act included the requirement for the provision of exhaust ventilation for the removal of harmful dusts and within three years i t was extended to a l l factories and workshops. However, the act did not provide for any means to enforce the regu l a t i o n . 1 1 5 In 1872, an investigation into the health hazards in cotton manufacture was undertaken by Dr. Buchanan and his committee. Their report was presented to both Houses of Parliament in 1884. 1 1 6 The team identified cotton dust as a major health hazard in cotton manufacturing for both women and men, but more problematic for women. - 94 -The report does not state how many mills the investigators visited but they visited both the "satanic" type and the "ideal" type. In general, the mills described were divided into three large rooms, each of which housed one of the three major processes, spinning, weaving and carding. The least problematic operation in most mills appeared to be the spinning process, but when ventilation was absent even the spinning rooms were described as having a thin layer of dust settling on everything. 1 1 7 The committee described more problems in the weaving operations. They found that: Dust was a notable feature in most of the weaving sheds ... with two exceptions. But with these exceptions, dust was found diffused through the atmosphere of a l l the weaving sheds that we v i s i t e d . 1 1 8 The committee believed i t would be d i f f i c u l t i f not impossible to eliminate dust from weaving sheds: It may be here remarked that the entire elimination of dust from a weaving shed may be regarded as impossible of attainment ... The yarn used is not like a thread that has been passed through the gassing process* and rendered perfectly smooth. There is considerable amount of nap which, in spite of size, stares or sets up in cold dry air. Added to this the rapid action of the shuttle passing to and fro from 180 to 220 times a minute, triturates the yarn, which is at the same time shaken up and down by the action of the "healds" and similarly chafed lengthwise by the motion of the five comb "reed" driving home each pick of weft. Even in the primitive days ... power looms must have generated a considerable amount of d u s t . 1 1 9 (p. 6) - 95 -The investigation team were most concerned with the dust hazard in the carding rooms. They went into much detail describing the carding process and how the dust was generated. Basically, carding or "combing" machines separate the long cotton fibres from the short. The teeth of the cards have to be ground and cleaned periodically (up to five times per day) and this part of the process is called stripping and grinding. The team specified that: Part of the dust is caused by the ordinary action of the revolving cylinder and r o l l e r of the carding engine upon the cotton which passes through them ... By far the largest part is caused by the two operations, stripping and grinding ... The number of carding engines in the cardroom of an ordinary mill i s considerable, varying from three to four in very small mills to more than a hundred in the largest.120 The following description of the atmosphere in unventilated carding rooms is reminiscent of Dodd's reports to Ashley some thirty years earlier: The operation of the carding machines f i l l the a i r of the rooms with fine light fibrous dust; the heavier inorganic dust having been almost entirely beaten and sifted out by the will owing machines. The particles which throng the air of the card-room consist mainly of very minute fibres, varying in length from a line to a very minute fraction of i t . In the mills where the cotton is of a very low quality there is in addition to this fine dust much 'flying', ' f l u f f or 'flue', consisting of longer fibres The dust given out in this operation is universally admitted by employers as well as workmen to be injurious to health. 121 - 96 -The committee noted that i t was the "quality of the dust as much or more than the quantity" which was injurious to health. Samples were gathered from the different rooms of the mills and sent to Dr. Dupre for chemical analysis. The results, found in the appendix of the report, separated matter into soluble and insoluble, organic and inorganic categories.! 2 2 For our purpose, i t i s noteworthy that the committee suspected that the dust was not merely i r r i t a t i n g but that i t contained "ingredients noxious to health". They noted that some of the ingredients had been added to the cotton as part of the sizing process and were unable to say which of the ingredients were problematic and how they acted upon human physiology. They were however able to provide reports from medical officers describing symptoms of i l l health which they related to dust inhalation. An extract from one medical report states: In those who are unaccustomed to i t (the dust) i t causes continuous tickling in he throat, which incites hard coughing and occasionally whitish expectoration. In the f i r s t year of his work the operative suffers constantly from bronchial catarrh, and a considerable proportion of those who come to this occupation from rural districts abandon i t , even though they may be only sufferers from constant catarrh without other worse symptoms. If however, they persevere in this occupation, more important symptoms supervene, sometimes soon; often after a year of work such as cough with pectoral pain, marked anemia, obstinate debility and loss of appetite. White viscid sputa is now expectorated with d i f f i c u l t y , and shows under the microscope cotton fibres for several hours after quitting the factory. Marked emaciation, sometimes but rarely caused by profuse diarrhea deprives the operative of his strength ... These are the most unfavourable and, happily, not the most infrequent cases. But people go on coughing their whole l i f e long, and die at a comparatively advanced age [sic] of some intercurrent disease. So far as we have observed, they never remain entirely free from cough or in perfect health; although of course this may be - 97 -the case with individuals of perfectly sound chests who observe requisite precautions. Sickly people, especially those liable to pulmonary affections do not bear up long. The most unfavourable cases are usually found amongst women ... It is especially in connection with certain processes of cotton manufacture that these evils arise; scutching, willowing and, above a l l , carding.123 Unfortunately for us, the report did not cl a r i f y why the most "unfavourable" cases were found amongst women, as both men and women were employed in carding. But another medical officer reported to the team: As a medical man, I am frequently consulted by both sexes, and especially by young females of the operative class, compelled by the force of circumstances to work in the factories: they appear to suffer a great deal from derangement of the digestive and respiratory organs which I attribute in great measure to the inhalation of noxious particles floating in the atmosphere of cotton sheds.124 Although Dr. Buchanan's team stated that the most "unfavourable" cases were women, they added that the men working in the carding rooms were "pale and worn in appearance."^ 5 The team suggested that the health hazard of dust could be "very greatly mitigated by a system of flues, connected with exhausting fans": One very elaborate example of this arrangement was shown to us at Blackburn. In a large room 16 feet, 6 inches high, to each one of 84 carding engines a separate - 98 -underground flue was connected and at the meeting point of these flues a powerful fan was placed, which was found by personal inspection to extract an enormous quantity of dust. 126 They hastened to add that: The use of fans in carding rooms, so far from being universal or generally employed is on the contrary quite exceptional. Even of those mills which were pointed out to us as the best, the large majority were without them. Nor did we find their absence often compensated by resort to natural ventilation. In the greater numbers of cardrooms visited by us the atmosphere was not only dusty, but i t was hot, stuffy and oppressive.127 The committee noted that in those mills that had dust free rooms the appearance of the work people was "healthier and more vigorous" than of those working in dusty rooms.128 The committee's summation of i t s findings contained no definitive recommendations for action on the government's part. The statistics included in the appendix of the report were not very informative. The committee explained why this was so: It appears expedient to compare the mortality of cotton weavers with that of other cotton operatives. On examination of the records at Somerset House, i t was found that so far as the female population was concerned no satisfactory conclusion could be drawn because in a large proportion of cases, the death certificates of married women failed to state the nature of their employment.129 - 99 -The implication is that the women had l e f t their employment some time before their death and therefore the death could not readily be associated with their job. The factory legislation that was enacted during the period 1874 to the end of the century was not particularly responsive. A further limitation of hours to 56-1/2 a week was secured in 1874 and this was cut down by another hour in 1901. Other important features of factory legislation relate to the fencing of dangerous machinery and i t s cleaning when in motion, and conditions of health involving the amount of steaming allowed which was regulated by the Cotton Cloth Factories Act of 1889. 1 3 0 The impression one gets from the literature on factory legislation is that whether government should intervene in matters of manufacture was s t i l l a major controversy at the turn of the century. Cooke Taylor, commenting on the factory acts, states in 1891: These no doubt are small beginnings. But precisely in such small beginnings lay concealed the germ of the present enormous growth of factory law and by precisely such roundabout processes was i t attained. It is a not unlikely forecast that something further will be done in this direction, and that i t will take the form of a reconsideration of the terms "productive" and "unproductive" as applied to human labour, and of the sanction of protective labour legislation in this regard. 131 He asks "Where then is such legislation to cease?"! 3 2 and suggests that the next move will be to curtail the working day to eight hours. He cautions: - TOO -... i f i t be possible to jump without detriment from sixteen hours of work to eight, why not as easily from eight hours to four, from four to two, and in ultimate analysis to no hours at a l l . These are some of the doubts that must be resolved in the minds of reasonable men before a universal compulsory law of this character can be approved.133 It was not that the government was unaware of the health hazards in the cotton mills, but i t seemed immobilized by conflicting views on the purpose of legislation and the proper role of government as i t relates to "productivity". In other countries as well, health vs. productivity seemed to be a debated issue. In Russia, Dr. Eisman noted in 1887 that prolonged work in cotton factories was "harmful to growth and development". Dr. Pierotti in an Italian 1906 s t u d y l 3 4 involving 180 men and 620 women emphasized the health problems involved and attributed them to uncontrolled dust in the cotton factories.1 3 5 In England, the government continued i t s fact-finding on the impact of factory work on the health of the operatives. In 1908, near the end of our period, Dr. Collis undertook to investigate complaints of i l l health in Blackburn cotton mills. He visited 31 mills and examined 126 operatives employed in the preparatory processes and found 73.8% complaining of or suffering from an asthmatic condition due to inhalation of dust. Collis noted the progressive effect of symptoms with prolonged exposure and described the symptoms of a disease believed to be specific to cotton workers: - 101 -The course of the trouble caused is as follows: As soon as the individual begins to suffer, he finds his breathing affected. On Monday morning, or after any interval away from the dust, on resuming work he has d i f f i c u l t y getting his breath. This d i f f i c u l t y is worse the day he comes back. Once Monday is over he is alright for the week ... The man usually gets 'tight' or 'fast' in the chest, and he finds d i f f i c u l t y in f i l l i n g his lungs; to use his own expression, 'the chest gets puffed up'. Consequently, he becomes thin in the face and body. As the chest trouble develops into a typical form of asthma, the action of the diaphragm becomes less and less effective, until the only action of this great respiratory muscle is to fix the lower rib; at the same time the superior intercostal muscles are being brought more and more into use, and the extra ordinary muscles of respiration are more and more called into play to carry on the ordinary act of breathing. The sternum becomes more prominent and the chest becomes barrel shaped. Meanwhile the extra tax thrown on the lungs leads to some degree of emphysema. There is l i t t l e or no sputum produced, and what l i t t l e there i s , is expectorated with d i f f i c u l t y . It is not infrequently stained with blood ...136 Col l i s suggested localized exhaust ventilation be enforced, such as he had seen in "one" m i l l , and projected that the "disease would a l l but disappear" i f this were done. 1 3 7 He stated that i t was very uncommon for mills to have ventilatory systems.! 3 8 Coll is described why some departments were more dusty and therefore put operatives at risk: The cotton is f i r s t broken up from the bales in the blowroom and has most of the d i r t removed; the content of two or three bales are mixed to bring the product in use to an average quality. After mixing i t is taken to the cardroom and placed on the carding machines. These machines draw the cotton staple out into line, by dragging i t through wire combs; and at the same time they remove a good deal of husk and d i r t from the thread ... The process of cleaning the wires is known as stripping. - 102 -Stripping is a dusty process; i t is done by a fast revolving brush which removes the strip of cotton from the wire comb of the cylinder of the card ... The dust as i t is brushed out is thrown in the a i r ; ... the worse the cotton, e.g. Coarse American, the greater the dust present ... the heaviest part of this dust f a l l s back on the machine and about the room; the lighter particles float in the a i r for a long time making the air of a cardroom visibly dusty ... All strippers and grinders are bothered with chest problems; an ordinary grinder is done at 50 because of his lungs being damaged by dust ... Permanent removal of the dust is then in every way advantageous. The problem has already been tackled and with some success by exhaust ventilation ... There i s no doubt that i f this principle of ventilation is carried out, in a l l the mills the grinders' and strippers' asthma will cease to exist ...139 Collis noted that most of the workers in cardrooms were women but chose to base his study on male subjects only. Perhaps this was because men tended to remain at a job longer than did women and he was particularly concerned with long-term effects. He pointed out that the seriousness of the problem could not be measured by examining mortality tables because symptoms of illness were of a chronic rather than acute nature.1 4 0 The point he was making was that many operatives died of cotton-induced problems after they had l e f t the trade and therefore mortality tables would not necessarily associate these deaths with the cotton industry. He cautioned that i f the dust were not removed at source i t could cause problems in other departments as well, since cotton particles would be airborne through the mi 11. - 103 -Coll i s did not add very much to what was already known about dust-induced problems. He nevertheless confirmed what Kay, Thackrah, Greg, Buchanan and others had observed. Several major points deserve reiterating here: f i r s t l y , airborne cotton dust causes serious problems for a l l cotton workers where mills are not equipped with exhaust systems; secondly, the length of time during which operatives were exposed to airborne dust produced prolonged symptoms of illness. Various reproductive problems were associated with the mill's polluted environment, as were digestive and respiratory disturbances. It i s d i f f i c u l t to draw any quantitative conclusions from these nineteenth-century investigations which would definitively link cotton dust with involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y . Clearly, more evidence is needed connecting actual f e r t i l i t y levels with cotton dust inhalation across comparative groupings where proper controls can be utilized to isolate the crucial variable of ventilation. This, of course, is no easy task; census statistics do not provide such specific information and thus one would have to consult original manuscripts and vital registration material with a view to family reconstitution. This, of course, is beyond the scope of this paper, even assuming one could find ideal comparative units. Even in the twentieth century i t is d i f f i c u l t to obtain direct evidence of chemical impact on f e r t i l i t y . Of major relevance in assessing relationships between occupational exposures and reproductive outcome is the ab i l i t y to clearly define both the amount of exposure and the particular outcome or effect. - 104 -"Outcomes" are varied and complex: "The most fundamental reproductive effect an occupational exposure can have is on the reproductive system," writes L.E. Sever, Ph.D., in a 1981 study. "In the female, f e r t i l i t y influences can be manifest as menstrual irregularities or amenorrhea. Additionally, female f e r t i l i t y could be adversely affected by damage to the ova, changes in reproductive system physiology such as the cervical mucous layer, or damage to the fallopian tubes. Male f e r t i l i t y effects include a decline in libido, as well as decreased or absent sperm production. Male f e r t i l i t y might also be affected by damage to the sperm-collecting network. Morphologic abnormalities of sperm, effects on sperm motility and enzymatic abnormalities of sperm need to be considered. 1 , 1 4 1 Occupational "exposures" may affect the embryo or fetus as an embryotoxin. It is thought that damage during the f i r s t two weeks of development results either in death of the cell or one that is repaired, with development proceeding normally. 1 4 2 Thus an embryotoxic effect early in development could result in an unrecognized spontaneous abortion. There are many problems in obtaining information on exposures since i t is seldom the case that a worker is exposed to only a single potentially hazardous substance. Secondly, i t is d i f f i c u l t to establish what dosage an individual received and at what point i t became hazardous. In a recent study, 1 4 3 Rachootin and 01 sen found an association of subfecundity with female cotton weaving and spinning occupations. They do not provide information on the chemical content of agents to which the textile workers were exposed or how large or frequent do t e l l us that the subjects were in participating in the study. 105 -a dosage they may have received. They their jobs for a year prior and up to In a case-control study based on data collected from case-couples who were examined or treated for a problem of i n f e r t i l i t y at Odense University Hospital and from control couples who had healthy children born at the same hospital during the period 1977-79, the researchers concluded that the female textile operatives experienced a sixfold increase in risk of idiopathic i n f e r t i l i t y compared with the control groupJ 4 4 - 106 -TABLE VI FEMALE OCCUPATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASED RISK OF IDIOPATHIC INFERTILITY, INFERTILITY WITH EVIDENCE ' OF HORMONAL DISTURBANCE OR DELAYED CONCEPTION Idiopathic Hormonal Delayed I n f e r t i l i t y Disturbance Conception Occupation Joiners, cabinetmakers Spinners Weavers Machine knitters Dry cleaners Electricians Tanners Tire vulcanization workers Typesetters Debt collectors Pharmacy assistants Auditors, accountants, cashiers Shipyard and storehouse workers Fitters Production managers Crane operators Rope, net and sailmakers Shoemakers Weiders Restaurant administrators Plastic industry workers Office workers Seamstresses Anatomist, genetists Sales clerks Waitresses Steel production workers Cutters (fabrics, leather) Photographers A* X X X B** X X X X X X X X X X X X X B X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X * A indicates occupation in the year prior to hospital admission. ** B indicates longest held occupation prior to hospital admission. B X X X X X X Source: Rachootin and 01 sen, p. 401 - 107 -Data was collected by questionnaire from 3,728 control couples and 927 cases. The questionnaire was designed primarily to obtain information on the work histories of the women and their husbands and on specific occupational exposures. Couples were asked to identify both the job held in the year prior to hospital admission and the longest held job up to that time. The questionnaire also listed 15 specific chemicals and physical agents and asked whether the subjects had been exposed to any of them. The females occupied in spinning and weaving who experienced delayed conception reported exposure to textile dyes from the l i s t which, in addition to dyes only, included: anesthetic gases; insecticides; weed k i l l e r s ; degreasers; lacquer, paint or glue; organic solvents; cutting or lubricating o i l s ; dry cleaning chemicals; lead; mercury; asbestos; hairspray or hair dyes; antihurst agents; and heat and noise. Obviously, for our purposes, the study is not detailed enough. Rachootin and 01 sen did not include most of the chemicals found in cotton dust nor do they provide an analysis of the content of chemicals found in textile dyes. Consequently, the study does not provide us with specific chemicals that might have been causally related to idiopathic i n f e r t i l i t y . Moreover, we are not advised whether the subjects were exposed to airborne substances such as cotton dust. Rachootin and 01 sen's intention was to isolate occupations as a preliminary step to further analysis. They state in the "Discussion": This study was designed to test and generate hypothesis regarding possible occupational etiologies of i n f e r t i l i t y . It was recognized from the beginning that this work would be a preliminary, but necessary step in pointing the way toward further, more focused research.145 - 108 -One can see that i n f e r t i l i t y is indeed one of the most d i f f i c u l t areas to research. It becomes more d i f f i c u l t when one attempts to establish ; exposures, outcomes, cases, and controls historically. What we have gleaned from the nineteenth-century evidence i s , f i r s t of a l l , literary accounts of weavers and carders exposed to large dosages of cotton dust, believed to contain noxious ingredients injurious to health. Secondly, the outcomes appear to be idiopathic and are described as symptoms of il l n e s s : 1. acute or chronic bronchial contractions; 2. blood disorders, anemia and extreme fatigue; 3. gastrointestinal disturbances, diarrhea, loss of appetite, emaciation; 4. reproductive problems: early menstruation, diminished fecundity, premature and s t i l l b i r t h s . The symptoms differ or are much less problematic for those persons not ' exposed to large dosages of cotton dust than for the cases so exposed. The carders and weavers, the majority of whom were women, may have been exposed to a number of hazardous agents, but cotton dust certainly seems to have had - 109 -some impact on their reproductive systems. The spinners, mostly males, seem to have had less exposure to dust, and their wives even less, since most l e f t the factory upon marriage. Although our nineteenth-century evidence is largely impressionistic, the symptoms described are consistent with the symptoms that more advanced medical knowledge now recognizes in persons suffering from various levels of } exposure to ingredients in cotton dust. It would seem that pregnant women, because of their hyperventilating during pregnancy would have inhaled larger dosages of cotton dust than did other operatives. The increase in maternal consumption of ai r contaminated by dust is 20 to 30 percent above non-pregnant l e v e l s . 1 4 6 In view of the increased work of respiration and greater oxygen demands, the pregnant woman is more susceptible to toxic agents "such as cotton dust" which reduces the number of circulating red blood c e l l s and interferes with the oxygen uptake of the hemoglobin, thus causing anemia.I 4 7 With the increased intake of toxic chemicals contained in the cotton dust, an increase in damaged fetuses and consequently an increase in spontaneous abortion i s a highly plausible hypothesis. An embryotoxic effect early in development could result in unrecognized wastage or sometimes have been mistaken as a heavy or irregular menstrual period.^ 4 8 - n o -The symptoms of illness related to bronchial contractions were recognized, i f only that they were more obvious. The acute stage, the "Monday feeling", and the chronic stage had been recognized, described many times and eventually named "byssinosis". But, in a 1981 study, Dr. Fowler and his associates revealed that cotton dust could act as a mechanical i r r i t a n t and cause the release of extremely potent hormone-like substances, prostaglandins E and F 2 . 1 4 9 Fowler found that prostaglandin production by the lung tissue increased with increasing concentrations of cotton dust. He pointed out that the prostaglandins are potent bronchoconstrictors and may account for the predominant symptoms of the "Monday feeling". Importantly, for our study, prostaglandins act on the uterine smooth muscle as well, causing i t to contract, and have been used synthetically in obstetrics for inducing labour and abortion for the past ten years. Synthetic prostaglandins might have been given to more patients had they not had two disadvantages: a high incidence of unpleasant side-effects and relatively unpredictable action. In an attempt to overcome these problems, many different routes of administration and different dosages have been tried. In 1973, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British  Commonwealth reported successful termination of pregnancy in 18 out of 20 patients who were given a single 100 pg. dose of the 15-methyl E 2 drug (prostaglandin) by intra-amniotic injection. Side-effects were minimal, but an attempt to reduce the induction-abortion interval from 16 to 5 hours by doubling the dose was unsuccessful. The increased dose increased "the risk of cardiovascular or respiratory s i d e - e f f e c t s " J 5 0 - I l l -In addition to causing bronchial and uterine smooth muscle contraction, Dr. Harper and his associates found that prostaglandins cause gastrointestinal smooth muscle to contract, leading to bowel disorder symptoms, also often associated in the nineteenth-century literature with dust in h a l a t i o n . 1 5 1 It will be remembered that Dr. Buchanan specifically mentioned that many female operatives complained of gastrointestinal problems which he f e l t were due to dust inhalation. It is significant for our study that larger doses of synthetic prostaglandins are necessary for the gastrointestinal smooth muscle to contract than are required for induction of abortion. We do not know how many of Dr. Buchanan's women patients who complained of stomach disorders were pregnant, but we do know that i f their complaints were related to prostaglandin acting on the gastrointestinal smooth muscle, they had more prostaglandins released than required to cause the uterine smooth muscle to contract sufficiently to cause spontaneous abortion. It will be recalled that many of the medical officers who testified at the Ashley investigations in the 1830's and 1840's were concerned that women were menstruating at a very young age and remaining barren. One wonders how this very private and personal female experience would become a public concern unless i t were also a public problem. What could the problem have been? There was as yet no awareness of a national declining birth rate; that did not become a public problem t i l l the last quarter of the century. I would tend to speculate that young women were absent from work or generally unproductive because of gastrointestinal contractions or uterine contractions related to an abundance of prostaglandin release. - 112 -The "barrenness" of the operatives may well have resulted from chemicals in cotton dust impinging on the male reproductive system. This possibility would not have been investigated in the nineteenth century. Men with small families were suspected of resorting to onanism, but even today very few tests have been conducted on the effect of chemicals on sperm production or pregnancy outcome in wives of men exposed to toxic chemicals. I 3 t Illuminating are the recent tests on the a n t i - f e r t i l i t y drug gossypol. Clinical t r i a l s of gossypol, a phenolic compound found in the seed, stem and roots of the cotton plant, began in 1972 in China. Among the f i r s t 4,000 men receiving the drug for periods from six months to four years, i t was found to be 99.89 percent effective as an a n t i - f e r t i l i t y agent. Gossypol's greatest inhibitive effect was on an enzyme, which is found only in sperm and testes c e l l s and is necessary for sperm production. It was noted that only a small amount of gossypol was required for effective f e r t i l i t y control and no toxic side effects were observed at this level. At higher doses than the amount required for f e r t i l i t y control, gossypol was shown to cause diarrhea, malnutrition and pulmonary congestion.^ 5 9 Male operatives exposed to large dosages of cotton dust in the nineteenth century were often described as pale, sickly, with pulmonary congestion and loss of appetite. Spinners and other operatives who were exposed to much less cotton dust, particularly i f they worked in ventilated mills were not described in this way. In other words, men who showed the above symptoms from inhaling cotton dust would have inhaled more gossypol than sufficient to cause a slowdown of sperm motility. - 113 -The c l i n i c a l studies of gossypol showed that, upon discontinuation of the drug, the number and morphology of sperms recovered over a period of two to three months and births of healthy babies among subjects' wives have been reported. 1 5 4 This could also explain in part why more healthy babies were born to cotton operatives during the cotton famine than in other years. We really have no hard definitive evidence from the nineteenth and only limited evidence from the twentieth century linking cotton dust with involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y . Even i f we do not know the precise quantitative impact on spontaneous abortion and delayed conception, at least some impact appears very plausible indeed, given the evidence and sources available. The low f e r t i l i t y of factory operatives continued to be noted to the end of our period. In addition, concern mounted over the large number of infants perishing within their f i r s t year in Lancashire. Despite evidence that the factory women were no more "immoral" than other working-class women, the notion persisted that the women were to blame. Dr. Harold Kerr, writing in the medical journal Public H e a l t h 1 5 5 at the turn of the century, was representative of the view that women in the factory towns were themselves to blame for the terrible wastage of infant l i f e : The terribly heavy death rate among children in the towns is of course due to a large extent to the unhealthiness of their surroundings but that is by no means the major cause. The fact that is of primary importance is maternal mismanagement ... every v i s i t o r in the home of the working class knows only too well the hopeless ignorance of the majority of the mothers in everything connected with the rearing of healthy offspring. 156 - 114 -Despite widespread recognition that serious physiological complications related to cotton dust inhalation were debilitating the cotton operative class, the English government enforced no standards on the mill owners until more than a century had passed since Ashley's investigations. The government looked upon industrialists as pioneers and made numerous concessions to them. It attempted to keep Poor Law taxes down, condoned low wages and avoided restrictive legislation. Only gradually did dust control become obligatory. However, the gradual eradication of the symptoms of acute or chronic bronchial problems from mills by controlling the level of cotton dust does not necessarily ensure the eradication of reproductive impairment. Reduced dosages of dust, too l i t t l e to create symptoms of byssinosis may continue to have adverse effect on the reproductive system. Moreover, pregnant female operatives are sensitive to different compounds and levels of dust than are other operatives. Concern over the diminishing birth rate among factory workers continued to spark investigations well into the twentieth century and reformers continued to emphasize the moral rather than the health issues for some time. It was reasoned that the moral issues were a responsibility of the operatives themselves, the health issues might demand more active government intervention than was desired by those in control of production. - 115 -The importance of health to working women, especially pregnant women, was rarely taken into consideration by those who were alarmed at the declining family size of the operatives. Very l i t t l e effort was made to enquire of the operatives themselves how they accounted for their distinctively small families. In the next chapter, we address this neglected area of research. - 116 -NOTES TO CHAPTER IV 1. William Blake, Milton, 1810, in The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 1978, p. 824. ~~ 2. " F e r t i l i t y of Marriage Report", Census of England and Wales, 1911, Vol. XIIII, p. C X i i i . 3. Kathleen Raine, William Blake, 1971, p. 72. 4. Ibid., p. 75. 5. W. Cooke Taylor, Notes of a Tour in the Manufacturing Districts of  Lancashire, 1842, third edition, 1968, p v i i i . 6. Ibid., v i i . 7. Jacqueline K. Corn, "Byssinosis - An Historical Perspective", American  Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2, 1981, p. 345. 8. Rosanna Ledbetter, The Organization that Delayed Birth Control, 1972, p. 3. 9. "Medical Evidence to the Commission on the Employment of Children in Factories, Dr. Mitchell's Report", B.P.P. 1834, XIX, p. 38, cited in Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers in Victorian Industry, 1958, p. 10. 10. W. Cooke Taylor, Op. c i t . , p. 243. 11. Ibid., p. 246. 12. William Dodd, The Factory System Illustrated, 1842, p. 33. 13. Loc. c i t . 14. Ibid., p. 68. 15. Ibid., p. 101. 16. C.T. Thackrah, The Effects of Arts, Trades and Professions and of  Civic States and Habits of Living on Health and Longevity and  "Suggestions for Removal of Many Agents which Produce Disease, and  Shorten the Duration of Life , 1832, p. 14/, cited in Corn, Op. c i t . , p. 335. 17. Dodd, Op. c i t . , p. 32. 18. Ibid., p. 18. - 117 -19. Ibid., p. 173. 20. Elizabeth Roberts, "Oral History Investigations of Disease and i t s Management by Lancashire Working Class 1890-1939", Health, Disease And  Medicine in Lancashire, 1750-1950, 1980, p. 37. 21. Dodd, Op. c i t . , p. 63. 22. Ibid., p. 65. 23. Ibid., p. 139. 24. William Blizard (M.D.), Evils of the Factory System as demonstrated by  Parliamentary Evidence, ed., Charles Wing, 183/ (Henceforth noted as ... Parliamentary tvidence), p. 113. 25. Ibid., p. 115. 26. CA. Key (M.D.), Ibid., p. 170. 27. C.T. Thackrah (M.D.), Ibid., p. 233. 28. J. Malyn (M.D.), Ibid., p. 188. 29. Dodd, Op. c i t . , p. 140. 30. Ibid., p. 111. 31. Roberts, Op. c i t . , pp. 39, 40. 32. Thomas Young (M.D.), Parliamentary Evidence, 1837, p. 254. 33. Loc. c i t . 34. Angus McLaren, Birth Control in Nineteenth Century England, 1978, p. 81. 35. Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers in Victorian Industry, 1958, p. 35. 36. The Parliamentary Evidence published by Dr. Charles Wing frequently associates promiscuity with barrenness. 37. Parliamentary Evidence, 1837, p. 171. 38. Ibid. > P-39. Loc. c i t . 40. Loc. c i t . 41. Loc. c i t . - 118 -42. Samuel Smith (M.D.), Parliamentary Evidence, 1837, p. 224. 43. J. Morgan (M.D.), Ibid., p. 197. 44. B.C. Brodie (M.D.), Ibid., p. 130. 45. Loc. c i t . 46. Parliamentary Evidence, 1837, pp. 327, 328. 47. Ibid., p. 233. 48. J.H. Green (M.D.), Ibid., p. 154. 49. W. Sharp (M.D.), Ibid., p. 211. 50. W. Cooke Taylor, Notes of a Tour in the Manufacturing Districts of  Lanncashire, 1842, p. zi. 51. Dodd, The Factory System Illustrated, 1842, pp. 41-48. 52. Rhodes Boyson, The Ashworth Cotton Enterprise 1818-1880, 1970, p. 93. 53. B.P.P. 1840, xi 372 cited in Ibid., p. 94. 54. Dodd, Op. c i t . , p. 89. 55. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 158. 56. Ibid., p. 159. 57. Loc. c i t . 58. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 117. 59. Boyson, Ibid., p. 91. 60. Boyson, Ibid., p. 93. 61. Ibid., p. 92. 62. Loc. c i t . 63. Loc. c i t . 64. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 22. 65. B.P.P. 1834, XIX, p. 396-397, cited in Ibid., p. 22. 66. W. Cooke Taylor, Notes on a Tour in the Manufacturing Districts of  Lancashire, 1841, p. Zb. : - 119 -67. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 91. 68. Ibid., p. 92. 69. Ibid., p. 91. 70. Ibid., p. 141. 71. Ibid., p. 149. 72. Loc. c i t . 73. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 150. 74. Ibid., p. 151. 75. Henry Ashworth, An inquiry into the State of the Operative Cotton  Spinner of Preston, Manchester 1838, also, An inquiry into tne urgfhT Progress and Results of the Strike of the Cotton Spinners of Preston, from October 1836 to February 183/, 1838. 76. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 153. 77. Ibid., p. 113. 78. Ibid., pp. 91, 91. 79. Ibid., p. 203. 80. Ibid., p. 116. 81. Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I, Part IV, p. 382. 82. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 105. 83. Ibid., p. 105. 84. Ibid., p. 107. 85. W. Cooke Taylor, Op. c i t . , p. 32. 86. Boyson, Op. c i t . , pp. 129, 130. 87. Ibid., p. 130. 88. Hansard, 3rd series, I x x i i i , 1142, 15 March 1844, cited in Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 129. 89. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 131. 90. Ibid., p. 132. - 120 -91. Ibid., p. 131. 92. Ibid., p. 94. 93. Loc. c i t . 94. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 113. 95. Loc. c i t . 96. Loc. c i t . 97. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 114. 98. Ibid., p. 102. 99. Ibid., p. 100. 100. Loc. c i t . 101. Loc. c i t . 102. Ibid., p. 101. 103. Ibid., p. 113. 104. Dodd, The Factory System illustrated, p. 90. 105. Ibid., pp. 90-92. 106. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 127. 107. Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 127. 108. Dodd, The Factory System illustrated, p. . 109. Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers in Victorian Industry, p. 31. 110. Cited in Corn, "Byssinosis - An Historical Perspective", American  Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1981, pp. 336-337. 111. Ibid., p. 336. 112. Mareska and Heymand, Belgium 1845, cited in Corn, "Byssinosis - An Historical Perspective", Table II, American Journal of Industrial  Medicine, 2, 1981, p. 338. 113. Bredow, Russia 1851, cited in, Loc. c i t . 114. Schuler, Switzerland, 1872, in Loc. c i t . - 121 -115. W.R. Lee, "Occupational Medicine", Medicine and Science in the 1860's, 1968, p. 173. 116. Buchanan, "Report on certain sizing processes used in Todmorden", Report on the Effect of Heavy Sizing in Cotton Wearing upon the Health  ot the Uperatives tmpioyeo, London, 1884, tc. JBbij, p. '. 117. Ibid., p. 7. 118. Ibid., p. 5. 119. Ibid., p. 6. 120. Ibid., p. 7. 121. Loc c i t . 122. "Appendix III", Ibid., p. 15. 123. Ibid., p. 9. 124. Ibid., p. 10. 125. Ibid., p. 9. 126. Ibid., p. 8. 127. Loc. c i t . 128. Ibid., p. 20. 129. "Statistical Inquiry", Appendix I, Ibid., p. 13. 130. R.W. Cooke Taylor, The Modern Factory System, London, 1891, p. 453. 131. Ibid., pp. 456, 457. 132. Ibid., p. 457. 133. Ibid., p. 459. 134. Eisman, Russia 1887, cited in Corn, American Journal of Industrial  Medicine, p. 338. 135. Pierotti, Italy 1906, Ibid., p. 338. 136. E.L. Coll i s , "Investigation into present Health of Card-Room Strippers and Grinders" (Appendix 11), Annual Reports of the Chief Inspector of  Factories for 1908, pp. 2O3-20F: " 137. Ibid., p. 205. - 122 -138. Loc. c i t . 139. C o l l i s , Op. c i t . , p. 203. 140. Ibid., p. 206. 141. L.E. Sever, Ph.D., "Reproductive Hazards of the Workplace", Journal of  Occupational Medicine, Vol. 23, #10, October 1981, p. 685. 142. Ibid., p. 686. 143. Pamela Rachootin, M.S.P.H., and Jorn Olsen, M.D., Lie. Med., "The Risk of I n f e r t i l i t y and Delayed Conception Associated with Exposures in the Danish Workplace", Journal of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 25, No. 5, May 1983, p. 398. 144. Loc. c i t . 145. Ibid., pp. 399, 400. 146. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 60601, 1977, pp. 17, 31. 147. Ibid., p. 30. 148. Chemical Hazards to Human Reproduction, 1981, p. x i . 149. Fowler, Ziprin, Elissalde, Greenblatt, "The etiology of byssinosis -possible role of prostaglandin FgA synthesis by alveolar macrophages", American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 1981, p. 30. 150. "Prostaglandins in Obstetrics", British Medical Journal, February 1981, Vol. 282, p. 418. 151. Harper, Rodwell, Mayes, "Metabolism of Lipids", Review of  Physiological Chemistry, 16th ed., 1981, pp. 296-298. 152. National Coordinating Group, "Gossypol - A New A n t i - f e r t i l i t y Agent for Males", Chinese Medical Journal, November 1978, p. 427. 153. A.D. Peyster, Y.Y. Wang, "Gossypol-proposed contraceptive for men passes the Ames test", New England Journal of Medicine, 1979, pp. 275-6. 154. National Coordinating Group, Op. c i t . , p. 427. 155. Dr. Harold Kerr, cited in Dyos, "Working Class Mothers and Infant Mortality in England 1895-1914", Journal of Social History, 1978, p. 257. 156. Loc. c i t . - 123 -CHAPTER V WORKING WOMEN'S CONCEPTIONS AND PERCEPTIONS S t i l l births were just that - fetuses whom nature, rather than a cynical midwife or mother had victimized.! Every inquiry into the declining birth rate showed that the families of Lancashire cotton operatives, neither the richest nor poorest of occupational groups, had been diminishing in size steadily at least twenty years before that of other occupational groups and long before the popularization in the 1870's of mechanical contraceptive techniques. 2 Contemporary and current researchers theorized that even i f working women did not have easy access to contraceptives nor could convince their husbands to abstain from intercourse, they had a "second line of defense" in folk abortifacients. 3 The implication was that women had the final choice in determining family size and exercised the choice in sufficient numbers to lower the birth rate in the second half of the nineteenth century. I believe the evidence shows that although infant loss was high in the nineteenth century, particularly among the operatives working in cotton mills, working women had l i t t l e choice in effectively regulating family size. We have very l i t t l e written evidence from the working classes themselves, but what we do have tends to show that working women were "victims of their reproductive systems" in a way that i s d i f f i c u l t for middle-class observers to understand. 4 - 124 -The only evidence of what some British women themselves thought about maternity comes from letters written to the Women's Cooperative Guild toward the end of the period we are studying. 5 These Letters are ambiguous; they do not point conclusively to either a thesis of voluntary or involuntary family limitation. Nor can we discern from them how many of the writers were employed in cotton manufacture. The editor does t e l l us that the Letters are representative of writings from women involved in various occupations, including cotton mill work, but no definitive quantifiable evidence relating to cotton mill work with adverse reproductive outcome is explicitly stated. For our purpose, the Letters are important because of the themes expressed in them relating to family limitation and the working-class woman. In general, the Letters indicate that barrenness was not a desirable state for the married woman, but too many children too fast created serious health and economic problems; that women were ignorant of effective methods to limit their families and believed most of their miscarriages to be spontaneous. In this chapter, I shall argue that the majority of miscarriages and loss of infant l i f e would appear to have been involuntary; induced abortion was not a reality for most working women until the turn of the century and could therefore not account for the much earlier diminishing family size of the cotton operatives. - 125 -( The Women's Cooperative Guild, a socia l i s t group of working women established in 1883, helped draw attention to the authorities' neglect of maternal health and the underestimation of involuntary influences on maternity with the publication of Maternity: Letters from Working Women in  1915. Although the Letters were published in 1915, the experiences of the women refer to the latter part of the nineteenth century, a period when the spectre of the declining birth rate reaffirmed in the minds of middle-class inquirers the suspicion that the textile operatives were inducing their own miscarriages in order to cope with economic pressures. The Guild did some enquiring of i t s own. Six hundred questionnaires were sent out to working-class women and four hundred responses were received. The 160 Letters which the Guild subsequently published were chosen at random and considered by the editor to give f a i r representation of the content of a l l received, but names, places and occupations were for the most part ommitted to safeguard the women's identities. The editor, Marylin Davies, who must have known the sources of the Letters, noted that the greatest decline in family size was in the textile towns of Lancashire and observed that much of the infant loss and associated i l l health of the mother could be blamed on the conditions under which the women experienced maternity. 6 In collecting the Letters, the Guild's purpose was not to obtain accurate stat i s t i c s but a general picture of the conditions and needs of working-class women during maternity. The Guild nevertheless did compile f a i r l y accurate figures showing the proportion of the number of s t i l l b i r t h s , miscarriages and deaths from prenatal causes and injuries at birth to the g - 126 -number of live births. The exact number of years over which the following figures extend are not given, nor does the editor state whether single mothers are included. It is assumed therefore that the "number of families" on which the figures are based is equal to the number of mothers involved. The Guild sent out 600 questionnaires and received 400 responses. Of the 400 responses, 26 indicated that the family was childless and 26 did not give definite figures. The number of families to which the figures refer is 348.7 TABLE VII STILLBIRTHS AND MISCARRIAGES Number of families Total number of liv e births Number of miscarriages (15.6 per 100 live births) Number of s t i l l births (5.9 per 100 liv e births) Of the 348 mothers, 148 (42.4%) had s t i l l b i r t h s or miscarriages. Twenty-two had both s t i l l b i r t h s and miscarriages, 37 had s t i l l b i r t h s , 89 had miscarriages. Of the 111 women who had miscarriages (including 22 who had s t i l l b i r t h s also): 2 women had 10 miscarriages each 1 woman had 8 miscarriages 1 woman had 7 miscarriages 3 women had 6 miscarriages 2 women had 5 miscarriages 6 women had 4 miscarriages 9 women had 3 miscarriages 17 women had 2 miscarriages 70 women had 1 miscarriage 348 1,396 218 83 - 127 -TABLE VIII (cont'd) Of the 52 women who had s t i l l b i r t h s (including 22 who had miscarriages also): 1 woman had 5 s t i l l b i r t h s 1 woman had 4 s t i l l b i r t h s 3 women had 3 s t i l l b i r t h s each 9 women had 2 s t i l l b i r t h s each 45 women had 1 s t i l l b i r t h each Infant Deaths: Total number of liv e births 1,396 Total number of deaths under 1 year 122 (8.7 per 100 live births) Of the 122 deaths, 26 took place in the f i r s t week of l i f e , 12 between the f i r s t week and f i r s t month, and 23 later, owing to ante-natal causes or injury at birth. Thus, 50 per cent of the deaths occurred either within the f i r s t month or from ante-natal or natal causes after the f i r s t month. Of the 358 mothers, 86 (24.7 per cent) lost children in the f i r s t year of l i f e . Source: Maturity: Letters from Working Women, pp. 194-195 It i s d i f f i c u l t to compare these figures with other sources and relate them to cotton mill workers specifically. The accurate calculation of an infant death rate depends on the accuracy of the registration of births and deaths, and in the nineteenth century such registration was far from complete.8 Stillborn children were not registered at a l l , and i t was possible, even i f a child died many days after i t s birth, for a person to declare i t stillborn without i t s having been certified in either the records of births or deaths. 9 The statistical evidence available indicates high infant mortality throughout the nineteenth century with the highest rates recorded in the factory towns of Lancashire. - 128 -CHART IY •a INFANT MORTALITY IN LANCASHIRE ^w5f> si a & & 6-* & & H 6* 7 0 7 . 7 1 Jfi 7 . Cr, Cvl Recognizing the deficiency of the available st a t i s t i c s , they nevertheless are illuminating. When comparing the infant death rate in Lancashire as compared with that of the rest of England and Wales, i t becomes obvious, as Margaret Hewitt has pointed out, "that there must be some special causes operating in Lancashire to produce so high a r a t e " . 1 0 The general condition of the Lancashire towns was not considered the major factor in determining the cause of high infant mortality; a contemporary observer reporting on the sanitary condition of Preston writes, "... there is reason to fear that in addition to those causes which are alike obnoxious to adult and infant health, there are others operating peculiarly* against underlining mine - 129 -the l a t t e r . " ' 1 A surgeon in Bury stated in 1843 that in calculating the death rates of infants in factory towns compared with those towns where only a few mills existed, and factory operatives were carefully distinguished from other working classes, a shocking discrepancy in infant death rates was noted. He found that in one d i s t r i c t which had extremely poor sanitary conditions, the deaths of infants under two years of factory operatives amounted to 61-1/5% and of other workers 32-3/4%. In Bury North, the average deaths of infants under two years of factory operatives was 54-3/5% and other workers 33%. In a d i s t r i c t in which he considered better sanitary conditions and better ventilated cottages for operatives and other workers alike, he s t i l l found that the deaths of infants under two years of factory operatives to be 56% and of other workers 33%. 1 2 Nor could evidence be produced that poverty and deficient diet was more prevalent amongst operatives and could possibly account for the discrepancy between their infant death rates and that of other workers. During the cotton famine, a period of great distress and poverty in the cotton towns of Lancashire,, when many mill workers were unable to find employment, the general death rate in Lancashire increased but the infant death rate dec!ined. - 130 -TABLE VIII GENERAL AND INFANT DEATH RATE 1861-64 Year General Death Rate Infant Death Rate 1861 34.55 184 1862 40.79 166 1863 31.08 170 1864 40.19 163 Source: Hewitt, Margaret, Wives and Mothers in Victorian Industry, p. 108 Moreover, the f a l l in the infant death rate in the dis t r i c t s most affected by the famine was more significant than for the county as a whole. It is not surprising that contemporaries associated the loss of infant l i f e with female employment in the cotton mills. However, they could not agree on whether the deaths were deliberately caused or of an involuntary nature. Reliable statistics relating to spontaneous abortion and premature infant deaths are d i f f i c u l t to establish even today. F i r s t i s the di f f i c u l t y of obtaining a commonly accepted definition of an abortion and the recognition by a woman that such an abortion has occurred. Secondly, legal aspects in many countries make i t virtually impossible to distinguish between induced and spontaneous abortions. A pilot study was undertaken in 1974 by Nader Kavoussi, M.D., D.I.H. in Iran. The purpose of the study was to compare the rate of abortion among female textile workers with the corresponding rate for women who stay at - 131 -home. Dr. Kavoussi specualted that some of the d i f f i c u l t i e s of measurement might not be so evident under present conditions in Iran and that i t might be possible to establish more reliable estimates of the incidence of spontaneous abortion than in the past. Industrialization in Iran i s comparatively recent and many of the social conditions are similar to those in the early cotton industry in England; i t was thought likely that induced abortion i s infrequent, since large families are normal for the population with religious reasons against the practice of induced abortion. From a legal standpoint, induced abortion i s permitted only where i t is necessary to save the l i f e of the woman.13 The problems of measurement relating to definition and recognition and also the collection of data was considered to be present for both the textile workers and the control group; thus i t was thought comparison between two such groups should be valid. Moreover, Iran was chosen as being particularly suitable for the investigation because of the existence of two such clearly defined groups of women - industrial textile workers and non-industrial workers. The study was undertaken in Isfahan and two textile factories selected at random, the Shahmaz factory employing about 4,000 operatives and the Nahid factory which employs about 700 operatives. More than 1,000 women are employed in these two factories. Over 70% of the women had worked in these factories for 15 years or more. 1 4 - 132 -A sample of 272 young married women from the textile industry were personally interviewed for comparison with a similar group of 217 non-industrial wives. The group of non-industrial wives were selected from the wives of men who worked in the two factories concerned. "By this means i t was thought that the social background of the two groups would be reasonally similar." All the women in both groups were personally interviewed but none were informed about the purpose of the study except to indicate that i t was concerned with health promotion. 1 5 The rate of assumed spontaneous abortion was found to be 12% of pregnancies in the case of the textile operatives but only 8% for the non-industrial wives. Infant mortality was also higher at 3.16% for textile workers with 1.13% for the control groups. 1 6 Dr. Kavoussi concluded that both the abortion rate and the infant mortality rate were s t a t i s t i c a l l y significant and higher for the textile operatives. There was also evidence to suggest that the l i f e expectancy of children who survived beyond two years of age was lower for those born to textile operatives than to non-industrial workers. 1 7 Both Kavoussi" s study and Rachootin and 01 sen's (discussed in Chapter IV) indicate that an association between subfecundity and a number of occupations exist but, in both studies, female cotton operatives are at a significantly higher risk of miscarrying than are other workers. If we posit that the conditions in nineteenth-century Lancashire were even worse - 133 -than in twentieth-century Iranian and Danish mills, the impact on declining f e r t i l i t y through spontaneous abortion must have been greater for textile workers than for other workers. The Letters from working women in general would therefore understate the maternity experiences of cotton operatives who by a l l available studies had the highest rate of infant loss of any occupational group in the nineteenth century. Even i f we cannot always differentiate which letters came from mill workers and which came from other workers, we can assume that the experiences of the operatives were at least as horrendous as those described throughout the Letters. Three major themes are identifiable that tend to support my contention that working-class women, including cotton operatives, f e l t helpless in regulating family size and believed their many miscarriages and loss of infants to be related to factors largely beyond their control. F i r s t l y , ignorance of maternity matters was a major problem both in giving birth and maintaining the family. A young mother writes: My f i r s t g i r l was born before I attained my twentieth year, and I have a stepmother who had no children of her own, so I was not able to get any knowledge from her, and even i f she had known anything I don't suppose she would have dreamt of tel l i n g me about these things which were supposed to exist, but must not be talked about. About a month before the baby was born I remember asking my aunt where the baby would come from. She was astounded and did not make me wiser. I don't know whether my ignorance had anything to do with the struggle I had to bring the baby into the world ... All the time I thought that this was the way a l l babies were born.18 - 134 -Nor did working women marrying later in l i f e seem to be more knowledgeable; a woman who became a mother in her late 20's writes: I was married at twenty-eight in utter ignorance of the things that most v i t a l l y affect a wife and mother. My mother, a dear pious soul, thought ignorance was innocence and the only thing I remember her saying on the subject, God never sends a babe without bread to feed i t . Dame Experience long ago knocked the bottom out of that argument for me ... 19 Lack of communication was blamed for the ignorance; mothers did not educate their children and women complained that doctors who attended them told them nothing. Nor did the factory seem to f a c i l i t a t e diffusion of information. A mill worker writes: When I have been pregnant I have suffered very much with bad legs. You see, I had to go to work in the mill and so I had not the chance to give them rest they needed ... I might say ignorance has more to do with suffering than anything, and I think i f our Guild would get the doctors to lecture them on the subject i t might help our numbers and also other people to take more care of themselves.20 The second theme that characterized the Letters was the notion that many children might have been saved i f medical attention had been available. This concern seems to contradict the assumption that women were intentionally committing infanticide. A mother who lost a l l her children but one writes: - 135 -... I have had nine children - seven born in nine years. I have only one now, some of the others have died from weakness from birth ... For many of my children I have not been able to pay a nurse to look after me and I have ?ot out of bed on the third day to make my own gruel and ainted away. My l i t t l e g i r l which i s just fourteen years old, from the f i r s t month of pregnancy until my nine months were up I attended the hospital and had a hospital nurse to confine me ... I for one think that i f I had a l i t t l e help from someone, I should have had my children by my side today.21 Others write in the same vein: Besides two s t i l l born children I have had two miscarriages. The last miscarriage I had I lost that much blood i t completely drained me. I was three whole months and was unable to sleep ... The doctor told me i f I had not the presence of mind to lay me f l a t on my bed when the miscarriage took place I should have bled to death.22 A mother complains that her seven miscarriages were caused by "unqualified" medical assistance: I have been married thirteen years and have no children. I have had seven miscarriages, a l l under six months. My own opinion is that the f i r s t was brought on by an unqualified midwife that I had to call at a moment of notice, for instead of letting me l i e quiet, she acted with me as though i t was a f u l l time child. And a l l other miscarriages have followed as a result of the f i r s t . I have suffered untold agonies through these miscarriages. My health is a l l undermined ... I have consoled myself by adopting an orphan boy who i s the sunshine of my life.23 These desperate cries for help do not sound as i f they come from women who performed or resorted to abortion as a regular response to economic - 136 -d i f f i c u l t y . Indeed, the women assumed that i f medical care had been more readily accessible their infants might have had a better chance of living. Medical care was largely out of reach for these women before the advent of the National Insurance Act. Moralists often attempted to persuade the working class to insure themselves with Friendly Societies against time of illness so that they would be covered for doctors' services i f the need arose, but few workers did so. For most of the nineteenth century when many working-class families experienced some period of their life-cycle in poverty, how to spend any surplus money was not always made on grounds of rationality. We are reminded that the "strength of working class mores and the demands of working class respectability were such that the l i t t l e surplus income there was went not towards health care for the li v i n g , but towards ensuring a decent funeral for the dead". 2 4 Workers did subscribe to hospital care through their place of employment but most hospitals in working-class communities did not really handle maternity problems. In Lancashire in the late nineteenth century, the period that relates to the experiences of the writers of the Letters, three categories of hospitals can be distinguished by their form of social and financial control. In terms of patients, the most important was the poor-law infirmary, a separate section of the workhouse which housed the very sick among the poor. The voluntary hospitals which emerged in the latter half of the century in the factory towns were supported by subscriptions and staffed - 137 -by honorary surgeons and physicians. In the third category were the infectious disease hospitals, owned by the local authorities and under control of the local Medical Officer of Health. Manchester was untypical in having a range of special hospitals: for maternity, women's disease, for tuberculosis and chest complaints. 2 5 "These special services reflected the concentration of private medical practices in the financial capital of the region." 2 6 However, services in most communities did not reflect the medical needs of the patient. Hospitals in the industrial towns tended to emphasize accident cases rather than medical. 2 7 The concern for the victims of industry was a significant factor in the spread of infirmaries in late nineteenth-century Lancashire, the period covered by the Letters. A seriously injured patient would be more lik e l y to gain admission than a case who could be returned home more easily. The infirmary, because i t was attached to the workhouse, may have discouraged the working class from even attempting admission. Elizabeth Roberts states that most hospitals in working-class communities were underused. In 1888, for example, Lancaster's hospital had 38 beds, but only 391 in-patients were treated in that year, an average of 8 patients per week.28 Whether the Lancastrians preferred home treatment or were not allowed admission is not clear. Although the voluntary hospitals which sprang up in the latter half of the nineteenth century dealt mostly with accidents, other cases were treated depending on the assessment of the proper relationship between subscriber and the factory surgeon who was paid by the owners of the f a c t o r i e s . 2 9 - 138 -Working-class contributions were usually collected through the workplace and employees made representation to the employers. 3 0 Many cases were treated as out-patients, even accident cases, i f they were able to return to work or home. Maternity cases, i f treated at a l l by professionals, were treated as out-patients. 3 7 Before 1900, only unwed mothers and very poor women gave birth in hospitals, particularly i f they did not have friends or kin to whom they could turn for assistance. 3^ In 1875, Lancet 3 2 reported that women in "northern" counties continued to give birth on a kind of stool, formed by tying together "the two inner front legs of two chairs" and friends were in attendance. The following table shows that hospital births for a l l of England were almost non-existent in the nineteenth century. TABLE IX PERCENTAGE OF HOSPITAL BIRTHS Year England Percentage 1877 less than 1% 1891 \ 155 1924 27% Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 12, p. 96 Traditionally, women had relied on midwives and this practice continued as long as doctors had to be p a i d . 3 3 The typical confinement tended to be an all-female arrangement with the man of the house sent out. One woman relates at the turn of the century: - 139 -Now you see the baby was born in the house ... I was going to say the midwife, but there was no such thing, i t was a lady up the street and that was sent for, some ladies were very very good at attending to childbirth ... this lady was called in and the man - get him out of the way ... don't want him about ... Now where i s the man going to go ... he went to the pub because there was nowhere else to go.34 The working-class families' relationship to their doctor was varied. Some believed the doctor charged too much and so f e l t exploited. However, some reported that the doctor had been very generous "and wouldn't charge". 3 5 There i s no doubt that individual doctors were often helpful even when the workers could not pay, but in the absence of general free medical care, doctors were called for only as a last r e s o r t . 3 6 In communities that were almost entirely working class, the people, writes Pickstone, "lived to an uncommon extent, beyond the social institutions of their employers. Their culture, religion and medicine was non-professional, self-created and s e l f - r e l i a n t . " 3 7 If maternity care was viewed as a form of self-help by both the professional physician and the working woman, i t i s not surprising that the authorities were suspicious of this self-help, and were convinced that many of the miscarriages were self-induced. II Some historians today also estimate that induced abortion was on the increase in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and believe i t to have been a major method of working-class family limitation. McLaren, for - 140 -one, suggests that the increase in deliberate abortions was sufficient to bring down the national birth rate in the second half of the nineteenth century. Yet the examples he cites reflect women's failure, rather than success, in using abortifacients to regulate family size. Like a bear with a sore head, cause there was nothing on the way. Bottle after bottle o' pennyroyal she supped but i t hadn't worked. My God ... eleven of 'em and now another.39 The wife has been taking a 5s box of capsules to bring on her menses but i t i s no good.40 She tried everything, she bought gin and she could i l l afford and drank i t neat. She carried the t i n back in from the yard, f i l l e d i t to near boiling point and then lowered herself in i t scalding her flesh so painfully that she was in agony for days. She ran up and down stairs until she was exhausted, and when a l l this failed to check any progress she procured some gunpowder enough to cover a sixpence mixed i t with a pat of margarine and swallowed i t . 41 His accounts of successes are from middle-class reports, for example: "Commenting on living conditions in Middlesborough, Lady Florence Bell declared: 'Nor perhaps can one wonder at the deplorably increasing number of women who take measures to prevent the child from coming into the world at a l l , a practice which is no doubt spreading in the community'."42 What evidence Lady Florence Bell had for her assertion i s not clear. Throughout recorded history, women have attempted to get rid of unwanted pregnancies but, before the twentieth century, i t must have been a very d i f f i c u l t thing to accomplish. Edward Shorter traces the breakthrough in accessibility to safe abortions to the years 1880 to 1930. 4 3 This new - I n -accessibility, in his view, was the result of new technology in instrumentation but, prior to 1880, abortion was confined to women who were extremely desperate and determined to end a pregnancy, not to the average working woman.44 Women would move from the least to the most dangerous methods of abortion, depending on how desperate they were. "The least dangerous rarely worked."45 These were the external trauma methods, the hot baths with mustard, binding oneself or fa l l i n g down stairs. Shorter points out that professional abortionists never wasted time with these procedures. 4 6 A more dangerous method of attempting to abort was that of drinking herbal concoctions to "restore the menses". These concoctions were known as "emmenogogues".47 Shorter maintains that almost everything that had been written about emmenogogues until the 1930's was "medical hocus pocus based on a complete misunderstanding of the body's endocrine system". 4 0 Doctors and midwives had no way of knowing whether a woman was pregnant before the fourth month and women who thought they had "brought on the menses" may not have been pregnant at a l l . There were a number of drugs, however, known to stimulate the uterine muscle, but the danger of poisoning oneself was extremely great. Three of the most common drugs used, ergot, rue, and sabinene a l l cause the uterus to contract but, in the medical literature, poisoning cases far outweigh those in which the mother suffered no grave e f f e c t s . 4 9 - 142 -Shorter suggests that the numerous reports about the uselessness of abortive drugs together with the equally numerous reports about their dreadful toxicity can only be explained in terms of d i f f i c u l t y in finding a standard reliable dose. 3 0 The randomness of whether the right dosage had been obtained must have made any systematic use of drugs for f e r t i l i t y control next to impossible. Shorter points out that a woman might in fact be successful or at least think she has interrupted one pregnancy but in another few months be pregnant again and end up with a number of liv e births out of a somewhat larger number of conceptions. 5 1 One would expect an increase in the sale of more affective abortifacients on a large scale i f women were indeed preventing children from coming into the world. In Lancashire, where the textile workers were particularly suspected of using drugs, the drug diachylon, considered the most effective abortifacient in the nineteenth century, did not appear in any reports or inquiries as having been used in the textile towns before 1914. 5 2 The drug was f i r s t reported to have been used in Sheffield, a mining town, in 1890, yet miners continued to have the largest families of all occupational groups to the end of the period covered by the " F e r t i l i t y Report" in the 1911 Census. A medical officer in Sheffield reported in the Lancet in 1890: I have reason to suspect that in this d i s t r i c t the practice of taking diachylon in the form of p i l l s to bring on miscarriage is far more prevalent among the working class than is generally supposed.53 - 143 -The drug, an alloy of lead, was either not as effective as assumed or i t was not as widely used as supposed. In fact, Drs. Hall and Ransom, also writing in the Lancet, commented on the slow progress the drug was making. They noted that i t was not a patent medicine or quack cure popularized by handbills but a home remedy passed by word of mouth. Hence i t s slow progress, for the women of this class do not travel farther than to and from their nearest market town or center.54 It certainly seems that the methods available to working women in the latter part of the nineteenth century were not rapidly diffused among them or by them. McLaren writes that although women had traditionally employed controls, however dangerous, to space births or protect a mother's health, "the social and economic situation of later eighteenth century England did not call these birth control tactics into play on a massive s c a l e , " 5 5 but suggests that in the late nineteenth century they did call them into play on a large scale. The evidence examined here indicates that i f , in the nineteenth century, these birth control tactics were called into play, i t was on no greater scale than earlier. In desperate matters pertaining to women's health, women did take dangerous risks, just as they had in previous times but do not appear to have had more success in obtaining the object desired than in the past. The practice of taking drugs did not really seem to be spreading, at least not rapidly. - 144 -Although many women suffered from frequent miscarriages, only a few stated that they had attempted to cause a " s l i p " , l e t . alone been successful. A woman with eight children, two stillborn and three miscarriages writes: I have resorted to drugs, trying to prevent or bring a sli p . I believe I and others have caused bad health to ourselves and our children. But what has one to do ... doctors who attended me never told me anything concerning my babies or myself ... Oh, the horrors we suffer when men and women are ignorant.56 Another woman admitted she had used drugs in desperation but that they had been ineffective: Both children were delicate and dietary expenses ran high. Believing that true t h r i f t i s wise expenditure, we spent our a l l trying to build up for them sound healthy bodies, and were i l l prepared financially and physically to meet the birth of a third baby ... I confess without shame that when well-meaning friends said 'you cannot afford another baby, take this drug', I took their strong concoction to purge me of the l i t t l e l i f e that might be mine ... They failed as such things generally do and the third baby came ... Nine months later I was pregnant again.57 Not until the twentieth century would more reliable drugs such as quinine and apiot become widely available to give herbal abortion a feasible role in family l i m i t a t i o n . 5 8 - 145 -Shorter sees the real revolution in safe abortions to be in instrumental abortions when "curetting" began in the 1890's. In Great Britain, no curetting was reported between 1888-1891 and only 27 between 1908-1911. (Curetting for abortion in Vienna hospitals, however, rose from 400 in 1892 to 4,500 in 1912.) 5 9 Most instrument abortions were unsafe before the late nineteenth or even twentieth century. The major problem with instrumental abortions done at home, whether by abortionists or by the women themselves, was infection. Introducing an instrument into the uterus can cause contamination and the woman develops a fever. 6 0 Infected abortions are of particular interest because they are an index to those abortions that are induced and those that are spontaneous. "There is no reason why a spontaneous abortion should become infected," but when unsterile instruments are used blood poisoning can occur. 6 1 We have no statisti c a l figures for Great Britain for our period but a statistical study of a series of abortions treated in Johns Hopkins Hospital indicated that only 3% to 4% of abortion among f i r s t mothers involved fever, "most being spontaneous", but 20 to 25% of abortions among multiparous mothers were f e b r i l e . 6 2 These statistics of febrile cases are of interest in that none of the numerous nineteenth-century reports of women cotton operatives' "complaints" ever mentioned febrile cases. Indeed, Dr. Kay, commenting on the health problems related specifically to cotton mills, stated that most cases were not febrile. Indeed, i t will be recalled from Chapter IV that Dr. Kay, commenting on the operatives' disease, which "frequently markedly - 146 -excites the sensibilities of the stomach and bowels" and "the whole respiratory system" was rarely accompanied by "febrile action" (p. 72). Dr. Kay's comments are particularly noteworthy because many of the undefined diseases of the nineteenth century were simply categorized as "fever". In other words, whatever precipitated the operatives' i l l health does not appear to have been accompanied by infection and fever. In addition to the danger of infection and possible death, there appears to have been a strong moral objection against limiting families. One writer states, "I had a fight with my conscience before using a preventative", 6 3 and another writer comments, "I may say I have disgusted some of our Guild members by advocating r e s t r i c t i o n s . " 6 4 A woman with seven children in nine years writes: During my pregancy I suffered much. When at the end of ten years I was almost a mental and physical wreck I determined that this state of things should not go on any longer, and i f there was no natural means of prevention, then of course a r t i f i c i a l means must be employed.65 She did not say what a r t i f i c i a l means she intended to use, but she had seven children before she f e l t j u s t i f i e d in attempting to limit her family. It seems questionable whether women would induce abortions except under the most special of situations. Certainly, they do not appear to have encouraged each other except in desperate situations to intentionally induce a miscarriage. Rather the contrary seems to have been true, "I cannot speak too strongly about the evils of miscarriages", writes one. "One miscarriage - 147 -brought about unlawfully ruins a woman's constitution more than half a dozen children", 6 6 writes another. The women who did admit to having attempted to induce a miscarriage, i t will be noted, gave health problems as their moti ve. Despite the fact that women longed for fewer pregnancies, most accepted frequent childbearing and periods of poverty as their lot. They seemed to have longed more for an end to the ruinous miscarriages than an end to childbearing and blamed "overwork" and "lack of rest" for their disastrous pregnancies. Many writers state that miscarriages were more destructive to the mother's health than confinements and required more time to recover. A mother with two children and three miscarriages writes: I may say that to me the after effects of the miscarriage have been worse than confinements for i t takes months to get over the weakness.67 A mother who had nine children and six miscarriages writes: When I had my f i r s t miscarriage - i t happened in October -and I crawled about a l l winter, and well on into the next summer, like a person in consumption; in fact i t was generally thought that I was. And of course a l l those months we were obliged to have a woman in as I could do nothing.68 The third theme in the Letters indicates that, although most of the women who wrote did not have a medical diagnosis for the cause of their miscarriages, they had some notion that i t was related to their work. A mill worker writes: - 148 -My f i r s t baby was born before his time from me l i f t i n g my piece of the loom.69 Another worker states: I have never had a natural birth ... I think what caused my miscarriages was having children so quickly and having to work rather hard at the same time.70 A frequent cause cited was "weak blood" or simply weakness: I have not had any children to bring up, but I have had the misfortune to have had eight miscarriages ... But you must understand they have not been brought on by neglect or i l l - u s e but by my having a severe attack of influenza in 1891 ... which l e f t me with weakness of the womb.71 A writer who had ten miscarriages writes: I have had four children and ten miscarriages ... no cause but weakness. 72 Others blamed their disastrous pregnancies on illnesses, for them, unknown etiology: I had a very nervous fear that my baby would prove weakly because I had suffered for so many years from chronic bronchitis ... At that time i t was much more usual to trust to Providence and If a woman died i t only proved her weakness and unfitness for motherhood. My baby lived only seven months ...73 - 149 -Although she does not give an opinion as to how her bronchial problems developed, she does state that she worked until one month before her confinement. Another blames the birth of sickly children on "extreme attacks of haemorrhage and shortness of breath leaving me a wreck at those times". 7 4 Although these women did not understand the complexity of their disastrous pregnancies in the late nineteenth century, they suspected an association between pulmonary impairment and reproductive outcome for which twentieth-century research would establish a probable link. The Women's Cooperative Guild recognized the helplessness of working women to control their family size. They also recognized that the wastage of human l i f e was not what the women wanted. While the working women differed on specifics, their overall perception of maternity was that knowledge of maternal hygiene, access to medical help.and less harmful work would alleviate their suffering. Fear of population decline stimulated public concern and the Guild strategists realized this was a good time to go a l l out for government support of working women's maternity need. 7 5 They fought for and won a maternity benefit under the National Health Insurance to be paid directly to women, not to husbands, and to be given to non-employed as well as employed women. In addition, they got provision for four weeks sick pay at childbirth for the employed. The Guild subsequently won the establishment of Municipal Maternity Centers for pre- and post-natal care as well as - 150 -delivery. 7 0 Linda Gordon points out that, although these victories were by no means adequate or permanent (retrenchment policies after the war immediately cut back on Maternity Centers), they were impressive. 7 7 The purpose of the publication of the Letters was to alter perceptions regarding working-class motherhood. The editor writes: Much of the suffering entailed in maternity, much of the damage to the l i f e and health of women and children would be got ri d of i f women married with some knowledge of what lay before them, and i f they could obtain medical advice and supervision during the time of pregnancy and motherhood. It i s not the women's fault that they are ignorant, for the possibilities of knowledge have not been within their reach. 7 8 The Guild does not seem to have advocated or rejected birth control but like other feminists believed that women should have options. Davis noted that the decline of family size was greatest among the textile workers and believed i t to be partially the result of ruined health caused by ineffective abortifacients. Opinions may differ as to the good or evil of the general limitation of families, but there can only be agreement upon the evil which results from the use of drugs to procure abortion. There are many facts which go to prove that the habit of taking such drugs has spread to an alarming extent in many places among working women. The practice i s ruinous to the health of women, is more often than not useless for procuring the object desired, and probably accounts for the fact that many children are weakly and diseased from birth. But here again the cause of the evil l i e s in the conditions which produce i t . 7 9 - 151 -Davies attributed most of the wastage of health and infant l i f e to work conditions: The Letters are a pathetic endorsement of the view that fatigue, strain and domestic conditions are responsible for large numbers of miscarriages, and point to the urgent need of prenatal care. 8 0 Davis challenges the State to recognize i t s responsibility: The State has f i r s t to realize that i f i t wants citizens, and healthy citizens, i t must make i t possible for men and women to have families while living a f u l l l i f e themselves and giving a f u l l l i f e to their children. At present this is not possible from top to bottom of the working class, unless the economic position of the working class family be improved. The f i r s t requisite is then the improvement of the economic position of the family. 8 1 Davis is definite that she is not referring to advanced wages or luxuries, "words like 'ease and luxury 1 are grotesque when applied to the lives of manual workers". She is explicit that an improved economic position i s inextricably linked with an improved health environment: ... the State can today take immediate steps to improve the economic position of the working class family as regards maternity ... bring specialized knowledge, adequate rest, nourishment arid care, medical supervision and treatment within reach.82 The Letters revealed that the women themselves f e l t they had no real control over family size: they had no knowledge of effective maternity care; no access to medical supervision and their own home remedies were - 152 -generally useless and often damaging to health. To make a deliberate decision implies an awareness of options. It is quite obvious that the women did not perceive a viable choice in planning family size. It i s probable that, in the nineteenth century, no one, not even the operatives themselves, understood the extent to which conditions of the work environment determined the limitation of their families. More focused research would wait until the twentieth century. - 153 -NOTES TO CHAPTER V 1. Bernard Benoit, cited by Edward Shorter, The Making of the Modern  Family, p. 38. 2. Discussed more fully in Chapter II. 3. Angus McLaren, Birth Control in Nineteenth Century England, 1978, p. 250. 4. Edward Shorter, "Women's Diseases before 1900", New Directions in  Psychohistory, 1980, p. 183. 5. Marylin Davis (ed.), Maternity: Letters from Working Women in 1915, henceforth noted as Letters, "Introduction", Linda Gordon, 19/8 were written about experiences in the 19th century. 6. Ibid., p. 2. 7. Letters, p. 194. 8. Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Appendix to Fi r s t Report of Health of Towns Commission, B.P.P., 1844, XVII, p. 46. 12. Hansard, 1844, vol. LXXXIX, cols. 1, 117-44, cited by Hewitt, Op. c i t . , p. 108. 13. N. Kavoussi, "The Effect of Industrialization on Spontaneous Abortion in Iran, Journal of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 19, #6, 1977. 14. Ibid., p. 419. 15. Loc. c i t . 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Letters, p. 30. 19. Ibid., p. 31. 20. Ibid., p. 80. - 154 -21. Ibid., p. 20. 22. Ibid., p. 29. 23. Ibid., pp. 160, 161. 24. Roberts, Op. c i t . , p. 36. 25. J.V. Pickstone, "Comparative Studies of the Development of Medical Services in Lancashire Towns", Health, Disease and Medicine in  Lancashire 1750-1950, p. 10. 26. Loc. c i t . 27. Ibid., p. 15. 28. Roberts, Op. c i t . , p. 39. 29. Pickstone, Op. c i t . , p. 16. 30. Ibid., p. 28. 31. Edward Shorter, History of Women's Bodies, Basis Books Inc. N.Y., 1982, p. 156. 32. Cited in Ibid., p. 57. 33. Roberts, Op. c i t . , p. 41. 34. Loc. c i t . 35. Roberts, Op. c i t . , p. 40. 36. Loc. c i t . 37. Pickstone, Op. c i t . , p. 25. 38. McKeown. 39. McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 247. 40. Ibid., p. 249. 41. Ibid., p. 247. j 42. Ibid., p. 248. 43. Shorter, History of Women's Bodies, p. 177. 44. Loc. c i t . - 155 -45. Shorter, Op. c i t . , p. 178. 46. Loc c i t . 47. Shorter, Op. c i t . , p. 181. 48. Loc. c i t . 49. Ibid., p. 187. 50. Loc. c i t . 51. Ibid., p. 188. 52. McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 242. 53. Loc. c i t . 54. Loc. c i t . 55. Ibid., p. 36. 56. Letters, p. 38. 57. Ibid., p. 45. 58. Shorter, Op. c i t . , p. 188. 59. Ibid., p. 190. 60. Ibid., p. 195. 61. Loc. c i t . 62. Paul Titus, "A Statistical Study of a Series of Abortions Occurring in the Obstetrical Department of John Hopkins Hospital", American Journal  of Obstetrics, 65, 1912, pp. 962-67 (ca 1900-10). 63. Letters, p. 94. 64. Ibid., p. 161. 65. Ibid., p. 94. 66. Ibid., p. 65. 67. Ibid., p. 87. 68. Ibid., p. 80. 69. Ibid., p. 107. 70. Ibid., p. 105. 71. Ibid., p. 148. 72. Ibid., p. 62. 73. Ibid., p. 39. 74. Ibid., p. 38. 75. Ibid., v i i i . 76. Ibid., ix. 77. Loc. c i t . 78. Ibid., p. 7. 79. Ibid., p. 15. 80. Ibid., p. 10. 81. Ibid., p. 16. 82. Loc. c i t . - 157 -CONCLUSION The view of family limitation in the nineteenth century as a social economic phenomenon broadened in the twentieth century to include health concerns. Indeed, health and welfare of the mother became the central issue in the international birth control movement. The changes that contributed to the transition were slowly evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Marie Stopes, who has been credited with eventually freeing the birth control movement from Malthusian economic theories, developed "The Society for Constructive Birth Control" but retained a conciliatory attitude towards members of the League.1 Many members who had been influential in the League in fact joined Stopes's organization. 2 Margaret Sanger as "undisputed leader" of the international birth control movement in the 1930's made reference to Marie Stopes's debt to the Malthusians: "Her path was prepared for her by years of labour of the pioneers who had preceded her." J In 1930, a National Birth Control Council was formed to coordinate the a c t i v i t i e s of existing organizations. A, corollary of the concern for the health of the family was the determination that motherhood must be voluntary in the future. In the nineteenth century, neither the large nor the small families of the working classes can be said to have been truly "voluntary". The network of determinants for f e r t i l i t y change is extremely intricate and there is - 158 -sufficient evidence to suggest that, at least where cotton operatives are concerned, environmental factors had a significant impact on their family size. Debate early in the nineteenth century over who should be responsible for the industrial poor and the subsequent controversy over the diminishing birth rate, particularly among textile workers, helped bring health issues into focus by the turn of the century. Some contemporaries believed the textile operatives were deliberately aborting and therefore largely to blame for the wastage of infant l i f e and the mother's i l l health. Others suggested that the polluted environment of the mills, where women worked in ever increasing numbers, was somehow causing the disastrous pregnancies. However, to differentiate between deliberate and spontaneous abortion was almost impossible in most cases, even for physicians and the women themselves. "Deliberate" family planning was not really feasible in an environment that offered no viable options; the absence of any professional medical information or care, and the social and po l i t i c a l forces against a r t i f i c i a l l y controlling family size must have been overwhelming influences against voluntary limitation; nor was positive economic reinforcement a corollary of attempts to control f e r t i l i t y . Disastrous pregnancies, i l l health and poverty continued to be experienced by the majority of operatives for a good part of their l i f e cycle. - 159 -Recognition of ailments associated with industrial pollutants, such as cotton dust, contributed to questioning i f not challenging the view of the medical profession and the authorities that poor morals, poverty and i l l health were causally related. Gradually, i t was realized that an important connection existed between the physical condition of the mother herself and the category of "developmental diseases" that accounted for a large proportion of premature wastage and infant deaths. Investigations into the health of cotton operatives were undertaken throughout the nineteenth century and a number of important observations deserve reiteration. F i r s t l y , investigators repeatedly advised the government that airborne cotton dust was causing serious health problems for the majority of cotton operatives. They pointed out that very few mill owners were attempting to control the dust by installing exhaust systems. They stated that the dustiest processes, carding and weaving, were performed mostly by women and that the "most unfavourable" cases were "usually found amongst women" involved in these processes. 4 Secondly, the investigators described symptoms of illness that became progressively more serious depending on the amount and length of exposure to dust to which an operative was subjected. 5 They suggested that labouring in a dusty environment led to: diminished fecundity; abortion; stomach and - 160 -bowel derangement; anemia; a weakened and vitiated constitution; pulmonary constriction; asthma; and eventually chronic respiratory problems which often led to an early death. The government, nevertheless, did not take effective action in controlling cotton dust until well into the twentieth century. In the 1930's and 40's, Dr. Hi l l at the University of Manchester investigated the state of health of cotton mill workers in Lancashire and noted that some improvement was being made to control dust: It seems evident that the conditions in the cardroom before localized exhaust ventilation and vacuum for stripping were introduced were distinctly unfavourable to health, both men and women being affected. Such extreme conditions no longer exist and i t is to be hoped that the injurious effect upon health has changed with the changes in environment. In the absence of positive evidence that this i s so, the reduction of the operatives' exposure to dust and fibre, to the maximum extent possible, is obviously desirable. 6 However, i t was s t i l l not recognized that by controlling levels of cotton dust so as to eradicate the more obvious symptoms of i l l health did not necessarily eradicate more subtle health impairment. Not until the 1970's was i t noted that reduced dosages of cotton dust, too l i t t l e to create symptoms of byssinosis or gastrointestinal disturbances, might continue to have adverse effect on the reproductive system. We now know that prostaglandins, hormone-like substances which are released when cotton dust comes in contact with lung tissue, can cause the uterine smooth muscle - 161 -to contract and thus interrupt a pregnancy. Larger dosages of prostaglandin released than that required to stimulate the uterine smooth muscle may cause the gastrointestinal smooth muscle to contract resulting in stomach and bowel disturbances. Even greater dosages can cause the bronchial smooth muscle to contract and lead to pulmonary complications. We also know that small dosages of gossypol, a phenolic compound in cotton dust and seed operates as a powerful a n t i - f e r t i l i t y agent in men without observable side-effects such as bowel or respiratory disturbances. Larger dosages than that required for f e r t i l i t y control, however, can cause unpleasant side-effects. Although occupational health has become a specialized f i e l d for research in the twentieth century, many answers to problems are delayed because of d i f f i c u l t y in clarifying categories of research and p r i o r i t i e s . Economic factors continue to have major identifiable inputs into health policy decisions; benefits that will accrue from environmental control must exceed the costs of control. Who is at significant risk is not immediately demonstrable and possibly not always the most important consideration. Even when i t is recognized that human f e r t i l i t y is at risk in a specific environment and research into the problem is a top priority, serious methodological problems are encountered. Of major relevance in assessing relationships between occupational exposures and reproductive outcome i s the a b i l i t y to clearly define both "exposures" and "outcome". These categories are d i f f i c u l t to assess today but even more d i f f i c u l t to define historically. - 162 -There are a number of fundamental problems which relate to obtaining information on "exposure" and to the identifying of and controlling for confounding factors which can be used to support causal hypothesis. F i r s t l y , occupational populations often have combined exposures. It is seldom the case that a worker is exposed to only a single potentially hazardous substance. The cotton operatives, for example, may have had exposure to chemicals used in dyes and sizing of threads in addition to being exposed to the chemical and i r r i t a n t qualities of the dust. Secondly, i t is d i f f i c u l t to quantify exposures. Even when exposure levels can be determined through industrial hygiene monitoring, i t is often impossible to determine the dose received by the individual. The problem becomes even greater when one considers that pregnant women may take in a greater volume of contaminants because of their hyperventilating in order to obtain a needed increase in oxygen. Thirdly, there is a problem in controlling for non-occupational exposures; diet, housing and general sanitation. In addition, both smoking and alcohol consumption have been shown to influence pregnancy.7 These factors are almost impossible to isolate for purpose of historical study. There are also problems associated with identification and definition of reproductive "outcome". It is very d i f f i c u l t , for example, to determine what has been caused genetically or chemically; nor is i t always possible to ascertain whether a miscarriage has indeed occurred. - 163 -Of extreme importance also is the selection of a control population. For reproductive outcome in an exposed population to be interpreted meaningfully, i t must be compared to data derived from a similar but non-exposed population. An attempt at this was made in Chapter IV which compared the "ideal" dust-free mills with those having bad ventilation. There are problems here in that we do not have any direct data on f e r t i l i t y levels aside from the literary kind which can be misleading. Census statistics, as stated earlier, do not provide such specific information. How then do we move toward a more solid proof of the argument that environmental factors had a significant impact on the family size of nineteenth-century cotton operatives? It i s , of course, not the intention of this paper to rule out a l l social and economic factors as having had no impact. However, when environmental factors align with a social directive, such as "a small family is economically sound", we may be in danger of crediting the social movement such as Maithusianism with undue success. We cannot however assess how social forces act upon people's lives without consideration of the parameters imposed by the environment in which they are embedded. By directly attributing physical consequences to changing social consciousness avoids the possibility of a direct physical intermediary, in this case, cotton dust. - 164 -Given the above, the question is what to do at this stage. Clearly, more evidence is needed connecting actual f e r t i l i t y levels with cotton dust inhalation across comparative groupings where proper controls can be utilized to isolate exposures, outcomes and control populations. Thus, one would have to consult original census manuscripts and vital registration material with a view to family reconstitution. One could design a type of cohort study in which occupational groups are identified today and followed through time; or one could modify this design and conduct a historical prospective study and trace identified occupational groups which differ in exposure and follow them to the present. Clearly, studies of this type would require long-term commitment of both personnel and financial resources. F e r t i l i t y i s indeed one of the most d i f f i c u l t areas to research. It is clear, however, that the issue of workers' reproductive health and reproductive hazards of the work place will become a major focus of occupational regulation and research in the future. Even though at present we cannot determine the precise quantitative impact of cotton dust on spontaneous abortion and fetal wastage, there is at least sufficient evidence to suggest that involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y can no longer be ignored by historians. - 165 -NOTES TO CONCLUSION 1. Angus McLaren, Birth Control in the Nineteenth Century, 1978, p. 113. 2. Loc. c i t . 3. Rosanna Ledbetter, The Organization that Delayed Birth Control: A  History of the Malthusian League, 1877-1927, p. 279. 4. Discussed more fully in Chapter IV passim. 5. Discussed more fully in Chapter IV passim: see, particularly, Dr. Brodie's testimony on "diminished fecundity", p. 80; Dr. Young's on "abortion", p. 78; Dr. Key on blood disorder, p. 76; Dr. Greg on "ill-oxygenated a i r " and the relationship to a "vitiated constitution", p. 75. 6. Cited in, Corn, "Byssinosis - An Historical Perspective", American  Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1981, p. 343. 7. L.E. Sever, "Reproductive Hazards of the Workplace", Journal of  Occupational Medicine, Vol. 23, No. 10, October 1981, p. 688. - 166 -BIBLIOGRAPHY A. PRIMARY SOURCES: GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS B.P.P., 1833, XX (450) F i r s t Report of the Factory Commissioners. B.P.P., 1834, XIX (167) Supplementary Report of the Factory Commissioners. Evils of the Factory System as Demonstrated by Parliamentary Evidence, 1837, especially medical reports from: Wm. Blizard; CA. Key; CT. Thackrah; J. Malyn; Thomas Young; Samuel Smith; J. Morgan; B.C. Brodie; J.H. Green; W. Sharp. Lords Sessional Papers, 1842, XXVI, "Report on the Sanitary Condition of the  Labouring Population". B.P.P., 1868-69 (4093-1), "Report of the Inspectors of Factories". Col l i s , E.I., "Investigation into present Health of Cardroom Strippers and Grinders, Appendix II, Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories  for 1908", cited in Report of the Departmental Committee on Dust in  cardrooms in the Cotton Industry, London Home Office, His Majesty's Stationery Office, iy32. Report on the Effect of Heavy Sizing in Cotton Weaving upon the Health of  the Operatives Employed! presented to both Houses 67 Pariiament by uommand or Her Majesty, LC 3861] 1884. B.P.P., 1894, XXXV, CI, Evidence to Royal Commission on Labour, (Cardroom and Blowing Room Operatives Association). B.P.P., 1904, XXXII Appendix V, Evidence to Interdepartmental Committee on Tnysical Deterioration. Census of England and Wales, 1911, Vol. XIII, " F e r t i l i t y of Marriage", Pts I-II. B.P.P., 1914, XXXIX, 43rd Annual Report of the Local Government Board, Supplement, Infant Mortality in Lancashire. Census of England and Wales, 1921, Registrar-General's Decennial Supplement, Pt. II, 1921. B. PRIMARY BOOKS AND ARTICLES Aldred, Guy, The Religion and Economics of Sex Oppression, London, 1906. - 167 -Ashworth, Henry, History data chiefly relating to South Lancashire and the  cotton manufacture, Manchester, 1866. Ashworth, Henry, The Preston Strike, Manchester, 1854. Ashworth, Henry, Recollections of Richard Cobden, M.P. and the Anti Corn Law  League, f i r s t edition, London, 1877. Blake, William, Milton, 1810, The Norton Anthology of Poetry. Davies, Margaret Llewelyn, Maternity: Letters from working women in 1915, Women's Co-operative Guild, G. Bell and Sons, I9lb, Reprints, with a new "Introduction", by Linda Gorden, G. Bell & Sons London, 1978. Dodd, William, The Factory System Illustrated, in a series of Letters to the  Right Honorable Lord Ashley, Together with a Narrative of the  Experiences and Sufferings of William Dodd, a Factory Cripple, Written  by Himself, New edition with an "introduction" by W.H. Chaloner, A.M. Kelly, New York, 1967. Fabian Tracts, Nos. 130-160, 1907-1911, Kraus Thompson Organization, Ltd., 1969. Gaskell, P., The manufacturing population of England, London, 1833. Glover, G., Observations on the Present State of Pauperism in England, London, 1817. Greg, W.R., An Inquiry into the State of the Manufacturing Population, London, 1831. Hodgkin, Thomas, Labour Defended Against the Claims of Capital, London, 1875. Hutchins, B.L., "A Note on the Distribution of Women in Occupations", Journal of Royal Statistical Society, Vol. LXCII, Pt. I l l , September TOT: Hyndman, H.M., The Historical Basis of Socialism in England, London, 1883. Kay, J.P., The Moral and Physical Condition of the Working Class Employed in Cotton Manufacture, Manchester, 1832. Leatch, J., "Surrat Cotton as i t bodily effects operatives in cotton mills", Lancet, 2, 648, 1863. Malthus, Robert Thomas, An Essay on the Principles of Population, London, 1798. ~ Marx, Karl, Capital, Volume I, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1974. - 168 -Marx and Engels on the Population Bomb, Selections from the Writings of Marx  and Engels, dealing with the Theories of Thomas Robert Malthus, ed., Ronald L. Meek, translations from the German by Dorethea Meek and Ronald L. Meek, The Ramparts Press, Inc., Berkeley, California, 1971. Morris, William, The Hopes of Civilization in Collected Works, 1st edition, 1885, XXIV, London, 1912. Playfair, Lyon, Report on the State of Large Towns in Lancashire, London, 1845. Taylor, John W., The Diminishing Birth-Rate Presidential Address Delivered  Before the British Gynaecological Society, B a i l l i e r e , Tindall and Cox, London 1904. Taylor, R.W. Cooke, Notes of a Tour in the Manufacturing Districts of Lancashire, Third edition, "Introduction", W.H. Chalaner, A.M. Kelly, N.Y., 1968. Taylor, R.W. Cooke, The Modern Factory System, Kegan Paul, London, 1981. SECONDARY BOOKS AND ARTICLES RELATING TO HISTORICAL AND SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENT Aldrich, Mark, "Mortality from Byssinosis Among New England Cotton Mill Workers, 1905-1912", Journal of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 24, No. 12, December 1982. Anderson, Michael, Family Structure in Nineteenth Century Lancashire, Cambridge, University Press, 1971. Banks, J.A., Prosperity and Parenthood, a Study of Family Planning among  Victorian Middle Classes, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1954. Banks, J.A. and 0. Banks, "The Bradlaugh Beasant Trial and the English Newspapers", Population Studies, 1953/55. Banks, J.A. and Olive Banks, Feminism and Family Planning in Victorian  England, London, 1864. Berry G., Molyneux, M.K.B., and Tombleson, J.B.L., "Relationship between dust level and byssinosis and bronchitis in Lancashire cotton mills", British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1974. Boyson, Rhodes, The Ashworth Cotton Enterprise, The Rise and Fall of a  Family Firm, 1818-1880, Oxford, Claredon Press, 19/0. Branca, Patricia, Silent Sisterhood; Middle Class Woman in Victorian Home, Pittsburgh, 197?: - 169 -Collier, Frances, The Family Economy of the Working Classes in the Cotton  Industry, 1789-1833. Manchester, University Press, 1964. Cominos, Peter T., "Late Victorian Sexual Respectability and the Social System", International Review of Social History, 8, 1963. Conway J i l l , "Stereotypes of Feminists in a Theory of Sexual Evolution", Victorian Studies, 14, 1970-71. Corn, Jacqueline Karnell, "Byssinosis - An Historical Perspective", American  Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2, 1981. Council on Environmental Quality, Chemical Hazards to Human Reproduction, prepared by Clement Associates! Inc., UTT. Department 57 Commerce, National Technical Information Service, January 1981. Djerassi, Carl, "The Politi c s of Contraception, The View from Beijing", The  New England Journal of Medicine, August 7, 1980. Duffy, A.E.P., "New Unionism in Britain", 1889-1890, A Reappraisal, E.H.R., XIV, 1961-62. Dutton, H.I. and King, J.E., Ten Percent and No Surrender, The Preston  Strike, 1853-54, Cambridge University Press, 1981. Dyos, Carol, "Working Class Mothers and Infant Mortality in England, 1895-1914", Journal of Social History, 1978. Edsall, Nicholas C., The Anti-Poor Law Movement 1834-44, Manchester, University Press, New Jersey, 19/1. E l l i s , Havelock, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1920. Ferguson, J., "Public Health in Britain in the Climate of the Nineteenth Century", Population Studies, V. Foner, P h i l l i p S., ed., The Factory Girls, A Collection of Writings of Life  and Struggles in the New England factories of the 1840s by the Factory  Girls themselves, and in the story in their own words, of the trade unions of women workers in the United States, University of I l l i n o i s Press, 19//. Fowler, Steven; Ziprin R.L; Elissalde, M.H.; Green Blatt, G; "The etiology of byssinosis - possible role of prostaglandin Fa synthesis of alveolar macrophages", American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, June 1981. Fox, A.J., Tombleson, J.B.L., Watt, A and Wilkie, A.G., "A survey of respiratory disease in cotton operatives, Part I, symptoms and ventilation test results", British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 30, 1973. - 170 -Fryer, Peter, The Birth Controllers, Stein and Day, New York, 1965. Glass, D.V., "Family Planning, Ends and Means", Population Studies, Supplement, Vol. 24. Haas, Joanna, F., and Schottenfeld, David, "Risks to the Offspring from Parental Occupational Exposures", Journal of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 21, No. 9, September 1979. Hair, P.E. "Bridal Pregnancy in Rural England in Earlier Centuries", Population Studies, No. 20, 1966-67. Hammond, J.L. and B., The Town Labourer 1760-1832, Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1917. Hammer, J.D.G., "Foreword", Cotton and Allied Fibres, Health and Safety, 1971-77, London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1979. Harper, H.A.; Rodwell, V.W.; Mayes, P.A.; "Metabolism of Lipids", Reivew of Physiological Chemistry, 16th edition. Hew, Occupational Health Problems of Pregnant Women, U.S. Department of Commerce, Information Service, (PB-Z54-032) 30 April 1975. Hewitt, Margaret, Wives and Mothers in Victorian Industry, Loxley Brothers Ltd., London, 1964. Hilden, Patricia, "Family History vs Women in History; A Critique of T i l l y & Scott" International Labour and Working Class History, No. 16, Fall 1979. H i l l , A.B., Sickness Among Operatives in Lancashire Cotton Spinning Mi l l s ,  Report No. 59, Industrial Health Research Board, Medical Research Council, London, His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1930. Himes, N.E., Medical History of Contraception, Baltimore, 1936. Himes, N.E., "Notes on the Origin of the Terms, Contraception, Birth Control, Neo Maithusianism, Medical Journal and Record, CXXXV, No. 10, May 1982. Hobsbawm, E.J., "General Labour Unions in Britain, 1889-1914", Economic  History Review, 2nd Series, Vol. 1, 1949. Hobsbawm, E.J., "The Standard of Living" Economic History Review, 2nd series, Vol XVI, No. 1, August 1963. Holley, John C , "The Two Family Economis of Industrialism: Factory Workers in Victorian Scotland", Journal of Family History, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 1981. : / - 171 -Hopwood, E., A History of the Lancashire Cotton Industry and the Amalgamated  Weavers Association, Manchester, 1969. Huzel, James P., "Malthus, The Poor Law and Population in Early Nineteenth Century England", Economic History Review, 2nd. series, Vol. XXII, No. 3, December, 19677^ Innes, John W., CI ass F e r t i l i t y Trends In England and Wales, 1876-1934, Princeton Unversity Press, 1938. Kavoussi, N., "The Effect of Industrialization on Spontaneous Abortion in Iran", Journal of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 19, No. 6, 1977. Key, Marcus, M., Criteria for a recommended standard ... Occupational Exposure to Cotton Dust"^  U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, Public Health Service, Center for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1974. Kiser, C.V., "Trends in the F e r t i l i t y of Social Classes from 1900-1910", Human Biology, V, 1933. Ledbetter, Rosanna, The Organization that Delayed Birth Control 11; A History  of the Malthusian League 1877-1927, University Microfilms, a xerox company, Ann Arbour, Michigan, 19/2. Litchfield, R. Burr, "Cotton Mill Work and the F e r t i l i t y of Working Class Families in Mid Victorian Stockport, The Victorian Family, ed. Anthony Wohl, Kreashelm, London, 1979. L i t t l e , Ernest Muirhead, ed., History of the British Medical Association  1832-1932, British Medical Association, London, 1932. Logan, W.P.D., "Mortality in England and Wales from 1848 - 1947", Population  Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2, September, 1950. Macek, C , "Bacterial endotoxin may be culprit in 'Monday fever"', Medical  News, Vol. 247, No. 20, 28 May 1982. Malthus, Thomas Robert, On Population, N.Y., Random House, 1st ed., 1798, 1960. Martin, Charles F., M.D. and Higgins, James E., "Byssinosis and other Respiratory Ailments; A survey of 6,631 cotton textile employees", Journal of Occupational Medicine, July 1976, Vol. 18, No. 7. Merchant, James A., M.D., Lumsden, John C , B.Ch.E; Kilburn Kaye H., M.D.; 0'Fallon, William M., Phd; Ujda, John R., M.D.; Germino, Victor N., J r . , R.P.A.; Hamilton, John D., M.D., "Dose Response Studies in Cotton Textile Workers", Journal of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 15, No. 3, March 1973. - 172 -Mills, H.F. and King, W. ed., Cotton Manufacturing, Garden City Press, Quebec, 1941. Mitchell, Harvey, and Peter Stearns, Workers and Protest, The European Labor  Movement, The Working Class and Origins of Social Democracy, 1890-1914, r.t . Peacock, Itasco, I l l i n o i s , 19/1. Montalvo, Joseph G. (ed.) "Cotton Dust - Controlling an Occupational Health Hazard", A.C.S. Symposium Series 189, American Chemical Society 1982. McFalls, Joseph A, and Masnick, George S., "Birth Control and the F e r t i l i t y of the U.S. Black Population 1850-1980", Journal of Family History, Vol. 6, No. 1 Spring 1981. 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