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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 B r i t i s h 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  Hilrie  Reimer, 1 9 8 4  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of  requirements f o r an advanced degree at the  the  University  o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it  f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference  and  study.  I further  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may  be  granted by  the head o f  department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  my  It i s  understood t h a t copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain  s h a l l not be  allowed without my  permission.  Department o f  /  /  ^  ^  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date  DE-6  (3/81)  ^  ^  Columbia  written  - ii-  ABSTRACT  In  nineteenth-century  Lancashire,  reproductive  complications  r e s u l t of cotton dust exposure were either ignored or misunderstood because moral involved.  and economic concerns  Debate  i n the  first  responsible f o r the industrial diminishing  birth  rate,  tended  half  of  with  ideally  largely  the  century  over  who  should  be  poor and the subsequent controversy over the  particularly  ventilated  a  to overshadow the health issues  among t e x t i l e  workers,  health issues into focus by the turn of the century. mills  as  mills  helped  bring  A comparison of dusty  indicates that contemporary  observers  were of the impression that families involved in the l a t t e r were larger and healthier  testimony  of  working women also attributes reproductive problems to poor health caused  by  their  than  work.  those  Ailments  recognized early specific  that were employed  associated  in the  with  former.  cotton  dust  The  exposure  had  been  in the course of the debates but the concept of a disease  to cotton dust inhalation and  related  reproductive impairment  not defined u n t i l well into the twentieth century.  was  iii -  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter  I.  Page  Introduction to the Problem of the Declining Birth Rate i n Nineteenth-Century Lancashire  II.  III. IV. V.  1  S t a t i s t i c s and Impressions of the Declining Birth Rate  16  Mission to Diffuse Family Limitation Information Aborted  42  Satanic M i l l s vs. Ideal M i l l s  65  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. IV.  Completed F e r t i l i t y by Social Class Infant Mortality i n Lancashire  -  V  -  LIST OF TABLES  Page  I.  II.  Possible Composition of Cotton Dust  A)  B) III.  IV. V. VI.  5  Average Census Ages of Married, Unmarried and A l l Women, Aged 15 To 45  21  Percentage Age Distribution  21  Completed F e r t i l i t y i n Each Marriage Age Group by Social Class  24  Operatives Employed i n the Cotton Industry (In Thousands)  33  Weekly Wages i n the Manchester and D i s t r i c t Cotton Trade  36  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  VII. VIII. IX.  Hormonal Disturbance or Delayed Conception  106  S t i l l b i r t h s and Miscarriages  126  General and Infant Death Rate, 1861-64  130  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 i n Victorian England but historians have shown remarkably l i t t l e interest i n the phenomenon. 1  The Century  above statement England,  from McLaren's study, Birth Control In Nineteenth  expresses  a concern  existing h i s t o r i e s of b i r t h control the  volitional  aspects  I have.  Moreover,  on family l i m i t a t i o n  of f e r t i l i t y  control  I find  that the  tend to emphasize  and overlook  aspects  i n the  complex network of population change r e l a t i n g to involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y .  Existing h i s t o r i e s , 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 r e s t r i c t e d f i r s t by the upper classes, next by the middle classes.  "The assumption  most dramatic McLaren  argues  example  classes  i s made that the f a l l  and f i n a l l y  by the working  i n family size has been the  of the embourgeoisement of the working  against t h i s  interpretation,  but agrees  with  classes. the general  conclusion expressed i n most of the studies that the crucial variable i n the declining  birth  rate  i s "volitional"  family l i m i t a t i o n . 3  Where McLaren's  study d i f f e r s from previous works i s i n i t s focus; h i s main contention i s that historians, assuming the decline  in f e r t i l i t y  to be a consequence of  - 2 -  the  diffusion  of b i r t h  control  information,  have tended to concentrate  the role of mechanical contraceptives and i n the process have overlooked importance  of  traditional  methods  of  family  limitation,  neither  the  "right"  on the  particularly  4 abortion.  He  argues  propagandists,  that  seeking  to  manipulate  the  nor  "left"  working-class  middle-class  attitudes  toward 5  procreation, had and  contends  that  precipitated national It  much e f f e c t on  an  economic  increase  birth  raises  the  rate.*  some  in  century,  criticises  the  and  i t i s not  the  role  the  abortions  questions broad  nineteenth  which  about  enough  in  century  brought  i s disturbingly  " u n i l i n e a r " models of population  down  the  provocative.  abortions i t s scope.  in  the  McLaren  change developed by  develop a more i n t r i c a t e model.  the r o l e of deliberate abortions  overlooks  behaviour of the masses,  of  contention  neglected  historians but does not r e a l l y on  pressures  deliberate  McLaren's  5  important  nineteenth  the reproductive  He  other focuses  i n the declining family s i z e , however,  of spontaneous abortion.  Fertility  of the most  complex of social  phenomena and  nature.  been written about voluntary f e r t i l i t y c o n t r o l , much less  Much has  about involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y . to  the  change  i t s determinants are  i s one  Historians have paid only cursory attention  s i g n i f i c a n c e of environmental and such  as  particularly  sanitation, nutrition,  pollution  seldom mono-causal in  occupational housing  i n the work place.  The  and  factors i n population atmospheric  purpose of my  pollution, paper i s to  address an aspect of t h i s neglected area of research.  My work as a r e h a b i l i t a t i o n consultant i n the occupational at  the  Workers'  stimulated  my  Compensation  concern  for  Board  of  occupational  British hazards,  Columbia including  health unit has  further  work-related  - 3 -  hazards  to  occupational  reproduction.  Involuntary  health  for  problem  which  infertility few  is  etiologic  a  significant  factors  have  been  identified.  An e n t i r e l y new century  area of medicine has  committed  technological  to  researching  improvements  developed gradually over the past  industrial  reduce  accidents  health  in  the  problems.  work  As  place,  more  attention and recognition have been given to industrial  problems believed to  be  substances  caused  by  the  environment. certain  introduction of chemicals  There  is  growing  agents contributes  to  evidence  and  that  environmental  human i n f e r t i l i t y .  example, that males exposed to agents such as radiation  may  develop  spermatogenesis;^  impaired  i t has  other  It has  exposure  been  to  shown, for  lead, chloroprene,  heat  and  alterations  in  that female anesthetists  may  fertility  also been suggested  into the  due  to  Q be  at higher  The  risk  of  infertility  Compensation Board was  compared with  other  female physicians.  recently involved i n investigating concerns that  Video Display Terminals might be causing spontaneous abortions. Of s p e c i f i c relevance to my into  the  dust.  anti-fertility  Some  infertility earlier,  time of  ago  infertility  The  that  of  certain chemicals  began  an  cotton  operatives  the  investigation  crucial  but,  factor  recent research l i n k i n g chemicals  suggested  operatives may  I  Lancashire  concluded  limitation.  action  paper i s the l i t e r a t u r e describing research  to me  that the  infertility  contained into  like  was  the  in  historical  historians  "volitional"  contained of the  cited family  i n cotton with  Lancashire  have been in part the outcome of environmental  cotton  insult.  cotton  - 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 s p e c i f i c to cotton dust inhalation and associated reproductive  impairment was not defined until past four decades, the connection respiratory connection and  disease  into the twentieth century.^  In the  between cotton dust and the d e b i l i t a t i n g  byssinosis has been e s t a b l i s h e d . ^  Nevertheless, the  between the respiratory disease caused by agents i n cotton dust  i t s l i n k with  etiology  well  infertility  is still  of byssinosis symptoms  i n i t s infancy.  revealed  not only  Research into the  the adverse  e f f e c t of  agents i n cotton dust on the bronchial smooth muscle but simultaneously on the  reproductive  system.  I t was found  that  some compounds contained i n  cotton affected men's reproductive system while others affected women's. -j  Cotton and i t s dust i s a complex heterogeneous material. contains  many  miscellaneous  types and  of  inorganic  breakdown of i t s composition.  carbohydrates, compounds.^  lipids, The  Chemically i t  proteins,  following  table  pigments, gives  a  - 5 -  TABLE I POSSIBLE COMPOSITION OF COTTON DUST  8% - 10% H 0 2  up to 2% N0  2  10% - 20% inorganic compounds  Carbohydrates: at least 20% c e l l u l o s e hemicelluloses pectin compounds up to 10% l i g u i n s 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  Source:  Wakelyn & Associates, p. 23  compounds  - 6 -  for  The  percentages  the  phenolic  given are approximations  pigment  gossypol.  and  Gossypol,  no  percentages  however,  are  i s of  given  particular  importance i n the study of f e r t i l i t y .  In 1978, cotton,  the results of studies identifying the compound constituent of  gossypol,  as  an  capacity were p u b l i s h e d . when  investigators were  particular  countries, region  has  area  theories a  inspired  strong further  agent  affecting  of  by  that  the  extremely  could  not  contraception.  anti-natal  policy  investigation.13  be  and  the  reproductive  in China  low  birth  unlike low  Researchers  in  1950  rates  explained  China,  the phenomenon to the residents exclusive use cooking.  male  These studies were i n i t i a t e d  12  puzzled  geographic  social/economic  anti-fertility  in a  by  most  the  Marxist  fertility  of  the  eventually  related  of crude cottonseed  o i l for  Further research revealed that the active substance  was  gossypol,  which i s a phenolic compound found i n the seed, but also the stem and  roots  of the cotton pi a n t J 4  Clinical  trials  of gossypol  began in 1972  i n China  males were more susceptible to the a n t i - f e r t i l i t y than  females.  received  a  To  daily  date, oral  s u f f i c i e n t l y reduced  more  dose  of  than 20  10,000 men milligrams  receiving the drug for periods  been  until  the  studied. sperm  count  Each was  Subsequently, maintenance  doses 75 to 100 milligrams were taken twice a month. men  revealed that  e f f e c t of cottonseed ,oil have  which took about two months.  and  Among the f i r s t 4,000  from six months to four years, i t was  found to be 99.89 percent e f f e c t i v e 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 time "showed decrease in  malformed  i n the percentage of motile spermatozoa and increase  spermatozoa  followed, by a gradual  azoospermia was a c h i e v e d . " an enzyme, which i s found for  f o r some  sperm production.  16  Gossypol's  only  drop i n sperm count  greatest i n h i b i t i v e  until  effect was on  i n sperm and testes c e l l s and i s necessary  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 f o r  e f f e c t i v e f e r t i l i t y control and no toxic side-effects were observed level.  At higher dosages than  gossypol  the amount required f o r f e r t i l i t y  at t h i s control,  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 could cause i n f e r t i l i t y .  than that which  By the time he was considered chronically disabled  by byssinosis he might have been i n f e r t i l e f o r some time.  Excessive exposure of dust on the lungs of pregnant women has also been shown  to be detrimental  to reproduction.  demand f o r oxygen increases.  During  pregnancy  the blood's  "A state of hyperventilation exists and the  mother continuously moves more a i r through the pulmonary system to extract a given in  amount of oxygen than  maternal  oxygen  non-pregnant l e v e l s .  she does when not pregnant."18  consumption 1 9  i s estimated  The increase  at 20 to 30 percent  above  In view of the increased work of respiration and  her greater need for oxygen, the pregnant woman i s more susceptible to toxic  - 8 agents such as cotton dust which reduces the number of c i r c u l a t i n g red blood cells  by i n t e r f e r i n g  anemia. ^ 21  there  may  Although be  with  more  serious  of hemoglobin,  thus  causing  that  aborted.  fetal  effects.  The  2 1  prenatal  organism i s  i n s u l t at each stage of the developmental  i t i s estimated  spontaneously  uptake  t h i s may cause only minor symptoms i n pregnant women,  susceptible to chemical and  the oxygen  up  to  80  percent  of  damaged  process,  fetuses  are  22  In addition to i n t e r f e r i n g  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. study,  Fowler and h i s research  Texas,  U.S.A. discovered  lung,  prostaglandins  liberated  from  prostaglandins predominant  E  the  and F lung  which  tissue.  dust  came  of Agriculture i n  i n contact with the  are hormone-like Fowler  2 3  broncho-constrictors feeling"  substances,  pointed and may  out account  associated  with  i t to contract.  of prostaglandins  on the bronchial  In addition, Fowler  found  that  were  that  the  f o r the the early  The tightness i n the chest, Fowler suggested,  by the a c t i v i t y  causing  2 >  of the "Monday  stages of byssinosis. caused  that when cotton  are potent  symptoms  team at the Department  In a 1981  may be  smooth muscle prostaglandins  caused uterine smooth muscle to contract and thus could cause the uterus to expel  a fetus.  used f o r over  Indeed, synthetic preparation a decade i n obstetrics f o r both  for inducing labour. ^ 2  of prostaglandins  had been  terminating pregnancies and  - 9 -  Subsequent studies California causing  School  bronchial  prostaglandins  by  and  uterine  are  Harper suggested of  at the  Fowler's f i n d i n g s .  smooth muscle  University  and  tightness  associated  that  these  prostaglandins  That i s to say,  In addition to  2 5  contraction,  they  the  that  chest.  The  required  be  of  eliminated  for  control  amount of prostaglandin  i n cotton  have inspired me  the low f e r t i l i t y of Lancashire cotton  the  occupational also  textile  groups  recognized  factories  was  was  that somehow  workers  had  recognized low  smaller by  fertility  related.  of  release  deliberately  limit  families.  the  fertility.  2 7  than that which anti-fertility release and  to reopen my  families  mid-nineteenth and  Many  2 9  lowering  the  enquiry  into  did  other  operatives.  were convinced that both contraceptives to  that  byssinosis.26 by  a n t i - f e r t i l i t y action of both the prostaglandin  presence of gossypol  That  noted  These symptoms, as  development  symptoms would  to  a smaller  with  of the  gives r i s e to symptoms of byssinosis can function as powerful agents.  of  cause gastrointestinal smooth muscle to contract, leading to  earlier,  dosage  his associates  of Medicine confirm  cramping, bowel disorders noted  Harper and  women's  century. **  few  illegal  It  2  occupation  nineteenth-century  and  A  than  in  was  cotton  investigators  abortions were employed  suspected  that  involuntary  i n f e r t i l i t y might be the cause of the small f a m i l i e s . - ^  By mid-nineteenth century, not  follow  the  upper classes, next by  classes.  a  u n i l i n e a r model.  the b i r t h rate had 31  the  Family  s i z e was  middle classes and  begun to decline and not  restricted  finally  by  the  first  did by  working  Evidence from many investigations indicates that family size f e l l  - 10 -  first or  amongst the Lancashire  poorest  of occupational  authorities who suspected  cotton operatives, by no means the wealthiest groups.  This caused much concern  32  that immoral behaviour and i l l e g a l  among the  abortions were  on the increase as a r e s u l t of women working i n close proximity with men i n the  cotton  medical  mills.  officers  Despite  3 3  and others,  investigations these  views  initiated  proved  by  to be l i t t l e  assertions.  Indeed, they were said to be as much.  significance  of environmental  miscarriages  and loss of infant l i f e might well  Parliament, more than  I t was claimed that the  factors was underestimated  and abortions or  be the r e s u l t of the poor  health of the mother herself brought on by poor family hygiene and lack of fresh  air. ^  Much debate was generated but no consensus could be reached  3  by contemporaries on the voluntary or involuntary nature the b i r t h rate, partly because many medical the time and partly because i n f e r t i l i t y medical  I  of the decline of  problems were undiagnosable at  was seen as a moral  rather than a  issue.  suggest  environmental  that  factors.  the  decline  Evidence  was  indicates  significantly that  influenced  the majority  by  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  respiratory problems i s more than  dust  sufficient  the amount necessary  to cause chronic  to cause reproductive impairment.  I t i s my contention  that the operatives working in dusty cotton m i l l s had smaller families than other  occupational  groups  because  of exposure  cotton dust now known to be a reproductive  hazard.  to intolerable dosages of  - 11 Since  hard  infertility century  evidence  linking  was not available  statistics  twentieth-century  and  chemicals  until  on  i n cotton  recently, I must rely  impressions  studies  contained  and  attempt  the relationship  7  to  with  on nineteenth-  support  between  dust  them  infertility  with and  s p e c i f i c reproductive hazards.  The time frame for my enquiry into the family size of Lancashire cotton operatives  i s eight-five  Victorians expressed  1830  to 1915, a  period  i n which the  considerable concern over the e f f e c t of female factory  labour on the family. medical  years,  Their concern  gave impetus to s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l and  investigations which provide  some of the primary  material  f o r my  study.  Differential  trends i n 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 Fertility  of Marriage  material  from  occupational  1851  i n England to 1911  fertility  and Wales".  The "Report"  and i l l u s t r a t e s  patterns.  Although  u t i l i z e s census  the variations I  recognize  on the  in emergent  the hazards  in  u n c r i t i c a l l y accepting census material, according to J.W. Innes, preliminary study  of the "Report"  material  has f a i l e d  to disclose  which would undermine i t s analytical  any fundamental value.  bias i n the  I t i s , moreover, the  only source i n existence from which one can determine d i f f e r e n t i a l trends at t h e i r inception. of and  the "Report" supporting  I t i s not my purpose to challenge the v a l i d i t y  but to accept i t as others h a v e . evidence  fertility  available  to enrich  36  I t i s a starting point  statistical  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 based"  Chapter I I I , I discuss b r i e f l y theories attempting  to explain  the the  more  prevalent  "volitionally  diminishing b i r t h  rate,  deduce that voluntary l i m i t a t i o n theories provide only part of leading  to population change and  underestimate  environmental  and  I  the network influence  on  f e r t i l i t y patterns.  In of  Chapter IV, I address the c r u c i a l  cotton dust was  on f e r t i l i t y  link cotton dust and i n f e r t i l i t y  question of how major the impact  i n the nineteenth century.  An attempt  to  will  be made i n t h i s chapter by comparing  dusty m i l l s with the ventilated m i l l s .  The major d i f f i c u l t y here i s that no  direct  evidence  fertility  of  a  demographic  levels exist.  The  kind  pro-factory and  anti-factory  balanced evidence.  The overall  that  employed  the  families  respiratory  symptoms and  cotton  nineteenth-century evidence  l i t e r a r y kind which can be misleading. from  linking  dust  to  actual  I do have i s of a  However, by choosing l i t e r a t u r e both  sources,  I  hope  to  present  at  least  impression one gets from the l i t e r a t u r e i s  in dusty  were less  mills  fertile  were  sickly,  than  those  showing chronic  employed  in w e l l -  ventilated m i l l s .  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 i n the dusty m i l l s , i t becomes d i f f i c u l t to i s o l a t e dust as the crucial of  variable affecting f e r t i l i t y .  m i l l s which had  ventilation  and  The  ideal  those that had  comparison  would be  none but in which most  - 13 -  other conditions were similar.  Ashworth's m i l l s were similar to other m i l l s  in the county in respect to hours worked, wages paid and the fact that women were employed hours  the  evidence  mostly in carding and weaving.  environment required  to  might  have  connect  differed  actual  However, outside of working from  fertility  family levels  to  family.  The  with  cotton  dust  exposure across comparative groupings where proper controls can be u t i l i z e d to i s o l a t e the crucial do  not  provide  registration and may of  specific  materials may  information.  offer  paper, even  attempt  assuming  Census  Original  census  the foundations f o r family  permit more accurate conclusions.  this  shall  such  variable of dust i s not available.  one  to deal with t h i s  could  statistics and  vital  reconstitution  This i s c l e a r l y beyond the scope find  ideal  comparative  problem by presenting  units.  I  a number of modern  studies which provide at least some hard, even i f i n d i r e c t , evidence.  In  Chapter V,  fertility.  This  I  present working  women's  chapter i s almost e n t i r e l y  working women who completed their f e r t i l i t y under  study  although  the  letters  were  own  perceptions  based  on  letters  of  their  written  by  in the l a t t e r part of the period  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  chapters and maps out the kind of research and methodology used towards more s o l i d proof of the argument.  in previous that might  be  - 14 -  NOTES TO INTRODUCTION 1.  Angus McLaren, 1978, p. 11.  Birth  Control  i n Nineteenth-Century  England,  London,  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 Industrial Medicine, 1981, p. 343.  Perspective", American Journal of  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 A n t i - F e r t i l i t y Agent for Males", Chinese Medical Journal, November 1978, pp. 417-428. See also Djerassi, The P o l i t i c s of Contraception, "The View From B e i j i n g " , 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 A p r i l , 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 P o l i t i c s of Contraception, The View from B e i j i n g " , 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 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 F e r t i l i t y 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 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, much of her study on the data contained in the "Report".  of Obstetricians  and Gynecologists, 60601,  in M. Hewitt,  1977,  Wives and  1958,  bases  - 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 i s 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 a l l other questions of the d a y J  The  remarks c i t e d at the beginning  presidential address i n 1904 Professor  of  Gynaecology  Birmingham and Midland Nineteenth  Century,  the  doctors  were  dissatisfaction.  Birmingham  Hospital for Women.  the decline of the birth not  declared  rate with  the  What was  are taken from the  On the Diminishing Birthrate by John W. Taylor, at  Taylor  2  of this chapter  only  that  University  and  Surgeon  to  the  In a l a t e r a r t i c l e published in he  and  other  d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n and  inquirers who  viewed  physicians disgust.  the  viewed  Moreover,  statistics  with  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 i n public health, that aroused "disgust"  in  V i c t o r i a n authorities?  that the v o l i t i o n a l  act of l i m i t i n g  of middle-class values.  Taylor's families was  dissatisfaction  was  mainly  a threat to the dominance  He emphatically stated:  A r t i f i c i a l prevention i s an e v i l 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 i s undoubtedly to this that we have to attribute not only the dimishing birthrate but the diminishing value of our populaton.3  The  statistics  impressive fertility  and  elusive.  Innes.  prior  to  Although  the  period  demographers t e l l  fertility  from  index  in less than  we  by  the  Fertility  census material  and  nineteenth  a l l classes century.  6  years or more, produced  Marriages  in  an average  Extra-marital  fertility  The  declined the  that  Commission  4  patterns  1851-1911,  nineteenth-century  recorded  i s somewhat  the history  between 1851  figures  show that for a l l age  in  the which  births;  second had  and  of  married  1860's,  of 6.16  the 1880's, 5.3; and in the 1890's, 4.13.  fact  fertility  century, evidence  for couples  fertility  on  decades of the  Commission of 1911  according to the husband's occupation. groups  chart, the  Fertility  By mid-nineteenth  5  every  period were indeed  sixty years i s c l e a r l y depicted,"  us that in the i n i t i a l  The  and  have only scant evidence  covered  rates went up.  more p l e n t i f u l .  rates during the Victorian  "In every  more than halved  writes  fertility  on birth  half  1886  of  lasted  the  for  20  in the 1870's, 5.8;  in  7  started to decline about thirteen years  the f e r t i l i t y of married women started downward,  as shown in Chart I.  before  - 18 -  Class Fertility Trends  CHART I  ENGLAND <t W A L E S LEGITIMATE & ILLEGITIMATE BIRTH RATES 1651 - 1880 (1876  =  I00")  14 0  (30  120  • •  • • \  • • ••••  • *•* •  110  • •  100  90 LE GIT1 M A T E LEGITIMATE 1651  1661  Source:  1671  J . Innes, p. 4  - 19 -  Course of Fertility Decline CHART  LEGITIMATE  n  ENGLAND  &  BIRTHS  PER PER  16 71 -  WALES 1000 1000  POPULATION W I V E S 15-45  1934  (lfl76 - 100)  100  •  \  90 XT", j  00 \ \  \  70 /  -•s\  :  60 M  SO  "V.  40  "t ,  R. OT FOR. P 3PULATIO N ATE FOR 30 IA7I  1081  W IVES 1881  V  15- AS >»0I  1911  1921  Source J . Innec p. 15  1931  - 20 Evidence from crude b i r t h rose  from  age  indicated  1860 to 1876 and l e s s  explained fertility  rates  away  by changing  than  non-marital  was  a quarter  fertility  actually  of the r i s e  could  be  extra-marital  after 1863 and here also the role of  considered  negligible.  patterns  ran p a r a l l e l ,  fertility  marital  age structure. * In contrast,  declined almost continuously  structure  that  After  9  1 0  1877, marital  and an estimation  and  of the  decline i s given in Chart II.  There  i s of course  uncritically. as  accurate  a problem  i n accepting  these  early  Registration of i l l e g i t i m a t e births may hardly as f o r legitimate  statistical  factors  which  illegitimate  fertility  births.  influence  trends.  Registration  the r e a l i t y  statistics  be considered  and age are the two  of the legitimate and  However, J.W. Innes  11  i n h i s study of the  " F e r t i l i t y Report" points out that more thorough r e g i s t r a t i o n would possibly only  make the decline  actually was.  of the i l l e g i t i m a t e b i r t h  He also maintains that the change i n the age of unmarried  women as shown i n the following  tables,  i l l e g i t i m a t e f e r t i l i t y may be considered differential  rate appear less than i t  between  should be a c c e p t a b l e .  i s so s l i g h t  insignificant.  the i l l e g i t i m a t e and legitimate 12  * Please see Table TT A and TT B.  Page 21  that i t s e f f e c t on In other words, the fertility  decline  - 21 -  TABLE II A13  AVERAGE CENSUS AGES OF MARRIED, UNMARRIED AND ALL WOMEN, AGED 15 TO 45  CENSUS YEAR  MARRIED WOMEN  UNMARRIED WOMEN  TOTAL  1851  32.79  24.12  28.23  1861  32.78  24.12  28.37  1871  32.68  24.08  28.35  TABLE II B PERCENTAGE AGE DISTRIBUTION Married Women 15 To 44 CENSUS YEAR  15-19  1851  20-24  25-29  30-34  35-39  40-44  1.11  13.38  22.46  23.37  21.04  18.64  100.0  1861  1.28  13.85  22,05  22.79  20.91  19.12  100.0  1871  1.33  13.89  22.48  23.01  20.63  18.66 100.0  35-39  40-44  15-44  Unmarried Women 15 To 44 30-34  15-44  CENSUS YEAR  15-19  20-24  25-29  1851  28.63  27.04  14.39  8.51  6.02  5.41  100.0  1861  39.35  26.98  13.46  8.18  6.21  5.82  100.0  1871  40.21  26.20  13.36  8.16  6.21  5.86  100.0  - 22  The  major  exception  -  defying  the  relationship between socio-economic status and by the f a l l group  i n family size which occurred  considered  number six on  F e r t i l i t y Commission of 1911. the  Census  of  groups. 4  Although  1  were  1911,  classified  as  textile  with  professional  classes.  1 5  of  Group VI f e r t i l i t y  Groups I and II with whom the beginning generally  associated. ^  means the  "most" or  1  "conspicuously for  the  The  "least"  and  of  the pressed  the  socio-economic great  birth  majority,  rate  Group I I , the  decline  landed  and the  groups i n  family l i m i t a t i o n " i s  cotton  operatives,  occupational  by  group,  no was  sectors of the working class  the F e r t i l i t y  (Please see Chart III and Table III.)  the  and  of " v o l i t i o n a l  economically  by  eight  below that of similar age  fertility  covered  by  groups in some decades during  lower" than that of a l l other  entire period  into  size  Group I  was  i s demonstrated  scale developed  comprising  family  For certain age  inverse  of Marriage Report", part of  population  their  broad  f i r s t i n the t e x t i l e occupational  "Fertility  operatives,  that  family size  socio-economic  the  Group VI,  closely  period covered,  The  divided  corresponded  the  general  Commission,  1851-1911.  17  - 23  Class Fertility Trends  C O M P L E T E D A. M A R R I A O E  tl  71  B. M A R R I A G E  A G E . IS-  '67'41  FE«?TIL1TT  SOCIAL  If*  1641•<  A G E . 2 0 -24  CLASS  C. M A R R I A G E  «•*:tl  A C E . 2S-2S  tati71  0. M A R R I A G E  ia?i41  ito tl  AGE, 30-34  • -i  ,VDB -V -IV  -u -vi -I 147141  1441- I44tt l  it  Source J . I n n e s , p. 50  I4»l-  M  - 24 -  TABLE  " I .  C O M P L E T E D F E U T I L I T V IX EACH M A «. M A C E A C E G R O U P BY SOCIAL C L A S S E S ' Age of Marriage  I 5-10  Date of  Socio / Class  /  Marriage,  1851-61 1861.71 1871-81 I88l-86  k  719 618 S49  844  809 728 650  ///  IV  895 857  888 856 807  804  738  741  V  875 876 836 789  VI  VII  846 803 761 701  886 94' 909 870  VI  VII  VIII  912 879 836 794  Total*  872 852 802  743  Age of Marriage 10-24. Social  Date of Marriage  1851-61 1861-71 l871-8t •881-86 Age of Marriage  I  u*  ///  738 689 594  747  5'4  714 651 588  Social  Clan  II*  ///  If  398 355  S7« 55* 485 434 3^  588 S37 479 435 398  II"  ///  IV  1861-71 1871-81 1881-86 1886-91 1891-96  387 *95 262 »35  376 343 3o6 77 252  37» 349 308 79 »54  Age of Marriage  /  //•  ///  IV  167 US 122 100 9° 80  217 >7i 138 125 102  204  196 176  /  5'7  498  t8 349 4  3°4  593 538  466  1861-71 r«7i-8i 1881-86 1886-91 1891-96 1896-1901  818 806 77' 736  VI  VII  VIII  788 748 7'3 676  Total*  745 7'7 646 586  V  600 556 5'4  473 446  499 436 389 349  638 63' 562 538 5'5  VI  VII  343 3'°  420 400  484'  VIII  604 57° 537 510 475  Total* STJ  543  480  427 390  30-34 /  36* 3" »59 128 '97  34»  2  Soeit ./ Class V  a  388 373 327 3°5 281  145 216  383 355 333  284  VIII  Total*  4"  381 349 3°7 278 250  VIII  Total*  39' 369 34' 3=3  35-44  Date of Marriage  708 676 597 539  25-39  Date of Marriage  V  779 749 696 653  Marriage  Age of Marriage  Clan  726 7'9 654 597  674 629 5'9 436  Date of  1851-61 1861-71 1871-Sl 1881-86 1886-91  IV  Social  91  176 '47 128 110 106  148  13* 105 108  Class V  VI  VII  ^34 190 150 '37  26l_*  120  94  33'' 252 212 166 '73 '59 '45 »34 '45 127 '44  124  188 '4'  '36 I03  * Includes wives of occupied husbands only. Excludes wives under 45 in 1911. * Based on less than 100 wives. b  • Report, Part II, Table X L I V , p. xcvii.  Source  J . Innes p . 4 7  213 '79 '45 129  no 106  - 25 -  Obviously, throughout  family  limiting  the population.  practices  were  The operatives' f e r t i l i t y  not  adopted  uniformly  patterns were, I shall  demonstrate, an impressive exception to the theory that the working classes were emulating the "parents of decadence who  There were also "unexplainable" that  did not correspond "better  started  it". * 1  5  differences within the  to the concept  that the economically  off"  by  emulating  the  classes  families.  When subdividing the groups into  intentionally  textile  pressed were  limiting  their  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 i s the superiority of the spinners over the weavers of cotton ... the explanation i s probably to be found largely i n the difference between the two occupations i n regard to the occupation of wives. Cotton spinning i s mainly a man's job and weaving a woman's. The number of married males returned as engaged i n cotton spinning i s 32,474 and of married females, 10,636; whereas f o r weaving processes the numbers are 38,626 and 53,691 respectively ... It may be fairly inferred from these facts that a much larger proportion of the wives of cotton weaving husbands than of cotton spinners work i n the m i l l s which could account for their lower f e r t i l i t y . For as w i l l be seen when the f e r t i l i t y of occupied women i s discussed, occupation of the wife e n t a i l s 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 i n cotton spinning i s shown to be 82 percent as against only 72 percent f o r 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. 19  trade  - 26 -  The  Registrar  General  linked  the decline  of the b i r t h  incidence  of female employment opportunities outside  to trades  such as mining where there were but few employment  for  women and f e r t i l i t y  many job opportunities noted work  that  there  outside  the home.  to the  He pointed  opportunities  was high and to the t e x t i l e trade where there were and f e r t i l i t y  was low. The Registrar General  was a c o r r e l a t i o n between low f e r t i l i t y  the home  rate  performed  by women.  He drew  s t a t i s t i c s that female spinners were more f e r t i l e  also  and the type of attention  to the  than female weavers.  The  inference was that since both spinning and weaving were done i n the factory, the job must d i f f e r  i n some aspect  that would influence variable  fertility  patterns influenced by the nature of work.  The  major difference between the two occupations as relates to female  fertility factory  seems to be that the women i n spinning  and i t s contaminants during  weaving.  child-bearing years than d i d those i n  A reason was that male spinners  from the factory and d i d not allow special  circumstances.  sometimes support  allowed  into  them, and i n order  decent wage. fertility prerogative occupation,  Re-entry  was  a  tended  because  to look  of the s k i l l e d  had families  they  spinning  but on whole,  male  wives  except under  to support were  d i d not have a husband to  after t h e i r  of women into  possibility,  to withdraw their  other wives into spinning  Widows who already spinning  had less exposure to the  children they  required a  a f t e r completion factory  who jealously  guarded  and we shall o f f e r reasons for this presently.  spinning entry  of t h e i r was the into the  - 27 -  Initially, carried  out  spinning,  by  the  family  underwent technological early The  nineteenth  weaving unit  changes  century  and  that  the  as  a  in the  preparatory cottage  latter  restructured  of  family  three main phases i n the industry's technological  before  the  dominant  introduction  and  the  of  period  machinery,  when  steam  the  power  In  the  period  manufacture was employment processes,  for  before  carried  introduction  in the  house of  of  the  family;  been  industry  eighteenth  unit of  and  production.  development, the time water  power  predominant,  of  the  had  The  the  when  labour.  the  a l l members  was  also mark  20  machinery,  work people  spinning  and  the  cotton  and  its  provided  preparatory  l i k e cleaning and carding, were performed by women and children,  while the weaving was family  on  years became  d i s t i n c t periods of change in the d i v i s i o n of  "put  industry.  part  the  processes  could out",  not but  processes and  done by  provide the  head  the male head of the  s u f f i c i e n t labour, of  the  the preparatory  household  paid for a l l operations  household.  was  preparing  responsible the c l o t h .  Where the  processes were for The  all  the  difference  between these costs and what he received for the woven cloth constituted the income for him and his f a m i l y .  Spinning  21  machinery conquered the cotton manufacturing much more quickly  than did the powerloom, the weaving section. and  the mule in 1790  unit of production. machinery, spinning  did not  initially  But the spinning jenny in  alter  With more mechanical  the  structure of the  improvements and  became a separate business and  was  first  1770  family  enlargement of brought under  - 28 -  the  factory system while  weaving continued  women and c h i l d r e n continued the men worked  to be done i n cottages.  with the preparatory  i n the f a c t o r i e s operating  processes  23  The  i n the homes and  the increasingly complex  spinning  machinery.  The  second phase  of technological  water frame, combined  the preparatory  change,  beginning  and spinning  with  processes  Arkwright's  and took them  24 both out of the home.  With Cartwright's  invention of the power loom i n  1785, spinning and weaving were brought together needed  power.  Both  processes  remained  specialized,  carrying out the more complex  spinning, while  the  and women  power  loom.  preparatory did  processes  not disrupt  employed  Children  and  also  of cleaning and carding.  the family  fathers  unit  continued  under one roof because both  women and young men continued  be  working  with  men  operated on the  I n i t i a l l y , the new machinery  of production. to  however,  Entire  responsible  families  f o r the  were  family's  25 production. his  Mill  owners  paid  the head of the unit and he i n turn  assistants out o f h i s wages. The employment  paid  s i t u a t i o n of women was  s i m i l a r to that of c h i l d r e n i n that both were employed by the head of the household. I t was during industry,  the t h i r d  phase of technological advance i n the cotton  from about 1820 to the end o f our period,  factory machinery demanded more d i f f e r e n t i a t e d with for  increased operation  men and women.  labour.  that  The enlarged  number o f spindles meant that fewer spinners and the steam powered  innovations i n mules  were required  looms required large numbers of young  I t was no longer f e a s i b l e to hire s t r i c t l y family units.  - 29 -  By  1841, approximately  combined  one-third of Lancashire  the various processes  continued  side  efficient.  2 6  by  side  under one roof.26  with  the  at the beginning  spindles per mule.  decade  industry.  employed  1851-1861  the largest  but  was  not as  number was about 100  type firm operated 17,800 spindles, 300 27  was the period of most  rapid  expansion  in  the  By 1853, 90% of Lancashire's labour force (335,000) was  i n the f a c t o r y ,  inspectors indicated A breakdown  firm  firm  In weaving, the representative firm operated 163 looms  looms and employed 315 o p e r a t i v e s .  cotton  The single process  Some mules had over 1,000 spindles,  of the century  with 100 hands while the combined  The  factories had  In 1850, the representative spinning factory operated 11,800  spindles and employed 108 operatives. whereas  integrated  cotton  2 8  and estimates  provided  that about 50% of the factory  of figures  f o r Preston  by  various  factory  workers were women. ^ 2  i n 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 r e s t r i c t i o n s  on c h i l d  labour i n 1833, l i m i t i n g  the age of entry  into f a c t o r i e s to nine years and i n 1847 the hours to be worked by children to ten, further  altered  demand f o r female labour.  the family unit  of production  and increased the  By 1861, i t was estimated that 65% of power loom  weaving i n Lancashire was done by women.31  - 30 Spinning remained the prerogative of the s k i l l e d male operative to the end of our period. of  the p r i n c i p l e  Importantly, the spinner's position meant a continuation of male dominance as chief  family as a production unit.  breadwinner and head of  The spinners were organized and aggressively  opportunistic during the good times as well as during depressions. Amalgamated Association of Cotton period. that  The most obvious  theirs  was  Spinners  explanation  an a l l male  union  continued  for their while  throughout  the other  threat to the breadwinner's customary  economic  family unit underlay much of the early industrial the  forefront  of  the a g i t a t i o n .  3 3  The  The 1853 our entire  superior organization i s associations were  dominated by women who had l i t t l e experience i n o r g a n i z a t i o n .  The  the  unrest.  spinners  32  domination  of the  Spinners were i n  struck  against the  continuing enlargement of new machinery and the introduction of women into spinning. Blackburn  Unsuccessful  strikes  i n Oldham, Preston,  Wigan, Stockport and  i n the 1830's and 1840's resulted, as had e a r l i e r  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. Smelser states:  These s t r i k e s , i n my opinion represented the operatives' attempt to r e s i s t the pressures of,the improved machinery on the d i v i s i o n of labour - pressure to modify the t r a d i t i o n a l 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  Neil  - 31 -  At the meeting of the 1829  inauguration of The  Grand General  Union of  the United Kingdom, cotton spinners l a i d down rules that t h e i r union should only include male spinners and the  Manchester  Guardian  urged  questioned  stated that the reason was  women to form separate the  Union  on  the  special place i n the production process. subordinates,  worked  other factory workers. the  position  workers.  new  The  provided  issue, an  to preserve the head of the f a m i l y .  spinner i n the Victorian factory meant being a s k i l l e d  his  unions.  For most s k i l l e d  To be a  3 5  artisan and having a  commanded  higher  greater benefit, however, was and  official  The s k i l l e d spinner gave orders to  machines and  for him  When  his family  compared  than  in the to  spinners, the most important  pay  the  security  that of  other  advantage appeared  to be in long service and hence promotions within the firm.  In  his  between 55 study  had  third  of  study and  of  60  Victorian  percent  ten years unskilled  of  factory workers, John skilled  workers i n the  or more service with  Holly two  3 6  found  factories  that under  the same employer while under a  labourers worked f o r the  same employer  as  long.  The  larger turnover of other workers resulted from t h e i r being forced to l i v e i n areas  other  than  factory communities or  recession.  through  were  not  labour.  Their a b i l i t y to hire members of t h e i r families also helped them to a more  there was  stable and  more  workers  of  to move as  benefits of  skilled  periods  obliged  frequently, because  The  get  caused  the  layoffs  to  poverty  secure  by  in order  demand  predictable way  of  for  their  life.  The  families of the s k i l l e d workers thus could make many decisions on the basis of the head's position i n the factory.  They decided where to l i v e and  how  - 32 -  long.  Geographical  life-style  non-mobility resulted i n a more orderly and respectable  f o r these  Willmott c a l l e d  one-career  an asymmetrical  families.  Theirs  was what  family, where the husband was economically  but also interpersonally more important than his w i f e .  One  would expect that the spinners who ranked  status than weavers within the t e x t i l e life-styles;  when finding  Young and  children  3 7  higher i n socio-economic  industry would emulate middle-class  not to be economically  should, according to t h i s view, have decided  an asset,  they  to l i m i t t h e i r families.  The  evidence does not bear t h i s out; since the spinner continued to be the most f e r t i l e of a l l subgroups within the t e x t i l e 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 t h e i r households and supporting children, but single  women, or wives with  spinning  by the spinners.  supporting  husbands, were not welcomed  The 1853 Amalgamated  Association  into  of Cotton  Spinners continued to espouse the same values and objectives throughout our entire period.  The policy  power loom weaver's union  i n the weavers' combinations  included women from the s t a r t . * 3  5  The  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. machinery  Power looms were much simpler machines than the spinning  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 e f f o r t to organize women and by 1876 had about 15,000 women members, or about half the total  membership.  The female membership i n the next decade rose to  39  30,000 and women shared  i n the progressive advance i n wages.  table provides some indication of the d i f f e r e n t i a t e d  The following  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 Male  Card and blowing run  Spinning processes  11.4  49.5  England and Wales  Female 28.7  Male 13.8  14.8  12.2  19.6  28.6  4.3  64.1  13.0  TOTAL Source:  57.6 133.3  38.1 265.9  Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. VII, 1910, p. 10  6.0 48.9  18.3  113.5 Weaving, warping, etc.  34.0  10.1  38.6 Winding, warping, e t c .  Female  15.8 130.8  66.1 162.3  44.4 320.7  - 34 -  Prior to the repeal of the Combination activity  Laws in 1824,  " i n r e s t r a i n t of trade" had greatly  practice t h i s meant that combined a c t i v i t y  the law against  hampered union formation.  such as forming unions to raise  wages could r e s u l t i n the prosecution of those involved. Blackburn paper carried an account of a t r i a l which  two  conspiring counsel  weavers,  James  to  wages of  raise  charged  them with  the a r t , c r a f t  or mystery  Watson the  and  In 1820,  a local  at the Lancashire Assizes, in  Lawrence  Moss,  were  weavers at Blackburn.  "conspiring  In  charged  The  with  prosecuting  to raise wages of those employed in  of weaving".  The  40  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 f a i l e d i n t h e i r object to prevent combinations from forming but had  seriously  antagonized  workers.  The  laws  unions continued to have d i f f i c u l t y organizing. formation  of  district  weaving  lists,  there  were  repealed  42  Weaving  lists  were  drawn  various l o c a l i t i e s but by mid-nineteenth  up  weavers'  From 1840 onwards, with the developed  permanent" form of organization but most unions remained intermittent.  but  by  a  "more  or  less  l o c a l , informal and  informal  committees in  century the demand f o r a standard  - 35 -  price l i s t  was the weavers' main concern.  negotiated  the " L i s t "  which  later  In 1853, the Blackburn  extended  known as the "Cotton Operatives C h a r t e s " .  throughout  weavers  Lancashire and was  43  These l i s t s were very complicated and were administered by men l i k e Ned Whittle,  secretary of the Blackburn  negotiator.  weavers who was considered  a strong  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 r e s i s t any attempt to reduce the same and also to prevent one employer paying less than another for the same amount of work and more p a r t i c u l a r l y 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  represent a woman's standard and not a man's. century  a  Employers scruples  "woman's when  standard  of wages"  introducing women to work  about cutting  rates by one h a l f .  received equal pay f o r equal work. because they were not allowed considered for  too heavy.  the s e r v i c e .  4 6  by some c r i t i c s to  However, before the twentieth  was  absent  from  previously done 4 5  trades.  by men  had no  In weaving, women generally  They nevertheless earned  to tune  most  less than men  their own machines as the work was  Instead, they were required to pay an "overlooker"  - 36 -  In  contrast  with  the more orderly  lives  of the spinners,  s k i l l e d weaver went through many changes of employment. would  be required  to relocate  however, i f the wife  i n order  to f i n d  and husband both obtained  work.  the less  Often the family In good  times,  employment, their combined  income might exceed that of the more s k i l l e d 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  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  8.6 13.0  10.0  10.0  11.0  12.4 16.0 13.7  Weavers  11.0  11.2  10.8  12.2  15.1 15.0 13.3  Source:  Nevertheless, those engaged  9.6  10.2  Encyclopedia  times  of c r i t i c a l  10.6  10.3  the prosperity of a l l operatives,  j o l t s when depressions out, there  9.6  preparatory  struck  was l i t t l e life  processes,  the cotton assistance  situations.  4 7  industry.  spinners,  weavers and  was subject  to periodic  Moreover, as Anderson  available other Some  than from k i n i n  of the financial  c r i s e s was a l l e v i a t e d by membership i n sick-clubs, f r i e n d l y burial  clubs.  poverty.  5.d  Britannica, Vol. VII, 1910, p. 290  i n non-union  points  8.8  S.d S.d  burden of  s o c i e t i e s and  These aids, however, did not adequately lessen the blow of  - 37 -  No comprehensive survey of the extent of poverty i s available f o r any nineteenth-century  town  before  reports in the 1880's and and  York,  about  40  publication  of  1890's respectively.  percent  Lancashire's poverty  would  periodic  i n the  depressions  the  of  the  likely  working  Booth's  and  They found  that in London  class  in  was  have been as widespread  cotton  industry.  Foster's calculations of family incomes and  Rowntree's  Michael  poverty.  because of  Anderson,  48  the  utilizing  incidence of poverty in Oldham  in a slump year and in a normal year, concluded that over the l i f e - c y c l e as whole, only  some 15  would  escaped  have  percent  of  a  of  period  labourers' families  slump year, t h i s the  percent  comparable  figure  figures  a l l working-class  of  poverty.  would  rose to 78 were 14  During  49  experience  percent.  percent  and  families a  normal  some poverty.  For s k i l l e d 52  in Lancashire year, During  differential workers. woollen  it  appears  in family  Holly,  in  that  size  his  in  did not  study  trades  percent.  exist  other between  contrasting the  Even  industry in nineteenth-century  than skilled  paper  Scotland, noted  between occupational subgroups with respect to f e r t i l i t y .  a  factory workers, among  artisan families, 14 percent would experience poverty in a slump y e a r .  Moreover,  35  the and  5 0  cotton,  a  unskilled  industry with no clear  top  the  difference  Holly states:  Estimates of the f e r t i l i t y of families using child-woman r a t i o s , the number of children, that i s , under f i v e per married women under f i f t y years, indicate no s i g n i f i c a n t difference i n f e r t i l i t y between s k i l l e d and labour headed, families.51  - 38  The  available  statistics  -  c e r t a i n l y indicate  that  a  unique situation  existed in the cotton industry in r e l a t i o n to family size d i f f e r e n t i a l s that cannot  be  status.  adequately  explained  by  focusing  primarily  on  social-economic  The a b i l i t y to support a family appears to have been r e l a t i v e , with  very few operatives escaping at l e a s t some period of poverty.  The have  fact,  though, that the  smaller  emulation family  of  size.  families  than  economically  the  upper classes was The  spinners'  poorer  not  the  determination  head of the family unit of production,  more secure spinners  textile crucial  workers motivation  did  indicates  not that  in determining  to retain the male dominance as  resulting in the withdrawal of t h e i r  wives from factory work, might have influenced family size i n several ways: firstly,  their  information, and in  the  work  wives  might  have  had  less  access  to  birth  control  secondly, they might have had less exposure to contaminates  place.  The  former  possibility  is  the  subject  chapter; the l a t t e r p o s s i b i l i t y w i l l be examined i n Chapter IV.  of  the  next  - 39 -  NOTES TO CHAPTER II  1.  J.W. Taylor, The Diminishing Birth-Rate Presidential Address Delivered Before The B r i t i s h Gynaecological Society, 1904, p. 4.  2.  J.W. Taylor, "The Bishop of London ,on the Declining Birth-Rate," Nineteenth Century and A f t e r , 59 (1906) p. 226, c i t e d i n 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 i n 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 I I .  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 I I I .  16.  See Chart III and Table I I I .  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 Vol. XIII, p. c x i i i .  Report",  Census  of England  and Wales, 1911,  - 40 -  20.  Frances C o l l i e r , The Family Economy and the Working Classes, 1964, The d i v i s i o n s i n 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 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; c i t e d i n 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 i n the Industrial Revolution, 1959, p. 228.  34.  Ibid., p. 235.  35.  Ibid., p. 236.  36.  John C. Holly, "The Two History, p. 60.  37.  Michael Young and Peter Willmott, The Symmetrical Family, 1975, c i t e d by John C. Holly, Journal of Family History, p. 67.  38.  Barbara Drake, Women i n Trade Unions, 1950, p. 5.  39.  Ibid., p. 6 and see Table V.  40.  Edwin Hopwood, A History of the Lancashire Cotton Amalgamated Weavers' Association, 1969, p. 27.  41.  Ibid., p. 28.  Revolution, 1750-1850,  ,  Family  Economies...",  Journal  of Family  Industry and  the  - 41 42.  Dutton and King, Ten Percent 1853-1854, 1981, p.~W.  43.  Ibid., p. 20.  44.  Edwin Hopwood, A History of the Lancashire Cotton Amalgamated Weavers' Association, 1969, pp. 47-48.  45.  Joseph L. White, The Limits of Trade Union Militancy, The T e x t i l e Workers, 1910-1914, 1978, Chapter 3.  46.  Drake, Op. c i t . p. 51.  47.  Michael Anderson, 1971, p. 147.  48.  Ibid., p. 29.  49.  Ibid., p. 30.  50.  Ibid., p. 30.  51.  John C. Holly, "The Two Family Economics of I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n ; Factory Workers in Victorian Scotland," Journal of Family History, Spring 1981, p. 61.  Family  and  No  Surrender,  Structure in Nineteenth  The  Preston  Industry  Century  Strike,  and  the  Lancashire  Lancashire,  - 42 -  CHAPTER III  MISSION TO DIFFUSE FAMILY LIMITATION INFORMATION ABORTED  It i s 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. Owen i n discovering a check for population.l 1  The  above quote from correspondence to David Ricardo implies that the  decrease of a pauper population than  by the moral  economic,  might better be solved albeit  proposed by Malthus and Owen. be  halted  by s h i f t i n g  said  to be  by medical  "scientific",  solutions  In other words, increasing pauperism cannot  the moral  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the poor onto the poor  themselves or by removing a l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e i r welfare "check on population"  science  must include  from them; a  an understanding of the medical  issues  involved; t h i s understanding should be the contribution of physicians.  In  this  century  I shall  d i d not r e a l l y  population tended  chapter,  provide  that  more  physicians  insight  into  change than d i d moralists or economists.  to subscribe  causally  argue  related.  to the notion  that  Thus, the reproductive  were either misunderstood  or ignored  morals,  in the  nineteenth  the complexity  Indeed, physicians too  poverty  and health  problems of the working  largely  of  because  concerns tended to overshadow the health issues involved.  moral  were  classes  and economic  - 43 -  The  name  discussion  Robert  on  Thomas  Mai thus  population change in the  issue of poverty to population was it  assumed  is  greater s p e c i f i c i t y  but  publication  begetting  population  of children  by  supply of food o r d i n a r i l y  rational.  thought  improvident  to their  marriages  future support;  against natural  and  the  since the  increased at a rate f a r slower than that of the  According  2  1  A guarantee of r e l i e f tended  increase of population, a policy which actually encouraged not  of Mai thus  He advocated nothing less than the total  encouraging  without  i n 1798  Mai thus maintained that the poor were  a b o l i t i o n of a l l statutory r e l i e f to the poor. increase  any  at the centre of debate for decades, the  nineteenth century.  with  the  Essay on the P r i n c i p l e of Population.  to  linked  Relating  with  responsible f o r t h e i r sorry state.  inextricably  to  Malthus,  any  assistance to  such growth the  poor  was was  law:  A man i s 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 i n fact has no business to be where he i s . At Nature's mighty feast there i s no vacant cover f o r him. She t e l l s him to be gone and w i l l quickly execute her orders.3  The misery that the poor would experience would serve as a "positive" check. limit  If the poor wanted their  "preventative  numbers; checks".  circumstances and  to avoid misery,  deferred Thus,  improve them.  marriage the  poor  and could  they would have to learn abstinence take  were  control  the of  to  logical  their  own  Owen, on the other hand, believed that a  man's character i s not made, by him but f o r him; that i t has been formed by circumstances of which he has no control; that he i s not a proper subject  - 44 -  either man"  of praise or blame. and of early  education the  solutions  tended  have,  the pauper  nineteenth century.  In  amelioration of pauperism.  of poverty to  general,  of the " i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of  influences are the basis of Owen's whole  and social  cause  These p r i n c i p l e s  to a  problem  These  4  large  extent,  proposed  and  two views  circumscribed  debated  various the  5  the " p o l i t i c a l  S o c i a l i s t s " , argued  distribution  as to  throughout  right",  the Conservatives  and Liberals,  to accept the Malthusian explanation while the " p o l i t i c a l  "budding  system of  of wealth.  declining, p a r t i c u l a r l y message was getting  that poverty was the r e s u l t of an inequitable When  6  i t was noted  i n the t e x t i l e  through  l e f t " , the  that  population was  indeed  towns, i t was assumed that Malthus'  to the working classes and v o l i t i o n a l  family  l i m i t a t i o n was indeed being practiced.  The argument has been made elsewhere nor the " p o l i t i c a l  thesis;  attempted  full  onto the poor themselves such  a message  mid-thirties, antagonism  their  any entanglement  to s h i f t  right"  l e f t " , f o r that matter, had much influence i n persuading  working classes to l i m i t this  that neither the " p o l i t i c a l  outright.  forties  with  responsibility  7  I tend  Malthusian  to agree  economic  f o r the welfare  i n part with  theories  of t h e i r  which  families  must have prompted the working classes to reject Certainly,  and early  to Malthusian  families.  the anti-poor  fifties  arguments.  On  law movement i n the  i s indicative the other  of working-class  hand,  working-class  leaders during this period c e r t a i n l y had great success i n organizing working classes i n the north i n opposition to the Malthusian-inspired New Poor Law.  - 45 -  The  main architects of the  New  Poor Law  Amendment Act  Jeremy Bentham, Nassau Senior and Edwin Chadwick. responsible f o r the content of the B i l l .  were Malthus,  Malthus and Bentham were  Senior and Chadwick were guided by  Malthus' interpretation of the old Poor Laws in terms of the new p o l i t i c a l economy.  According  science of  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 i s to increase population without increasing the food for i t s support ... and as the provisions of the country must i n consequence of the increased population be distributed to every man in smaller proportions, i t i s evident that the labour of those who are not supported by parish assistance w i l l 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,  of  view,  questionable  from a s t r i c t l y populationist or biological because  of  the  burdens  it  placed  on  the  point more  "responsible" members of the working class.  The charity Lords was  proponents of the New  Poor Law  so that they could g u i l t l e s s l y told in  seized on Malthus' condemnation of keep down poor rates.  The  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 -  House of  - 46 -  they were not acquainted with the true p r i n c i p l e s of population - they knew not the true p r i n c i p l e 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 f o r a few years before and a f t e r marriage, they were said  to  spend  their  entire  lives  on r e l i e f .  children from married or unmarried to the promiscuous".  11  1 0  Assistance  f o r the care of  parents was considered a "bonus offered  In the future, r e l i e f would be more d i f f i c u l t to  obtain, e s p e c i a l l y f o r able-bodied women and men, except i n a workhouse. I f the poor wanted to avoid the misery of the workhouse, they should not marry or have children u n t i l they could support both themselves and a family.  The Old Poor Law's d i r e c t allowance system to able-bodied labourers was based on the price of bread, and the minimum standard f o r the support of a labourer and h i s family was estimated by the Parish.  Should the wages of a  labourer not come up to t h i s  was paid out of  parish rates.  level,  the difference  the  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 i n addition to wages rather than support him and his family e n t i r e l y from rates, would occasionally result,  assist  a man with  i t was the number  a family  of mouths  i n getting  a labourer  employment.  "As a  had to feed with the  p o s s i b i l i t y of having to be fed by the parish which determined  a labourer's  - 47 -  priority the  in getting employment." ^  A single man  1  parish  and  would  became available.  therefore not  get  special  The Commissioners of the New  as encouraging "idleness and p r o f l i g a c y " .  would not be as costly to consideration when jobs  Poor Law  saw t h i s practice  13  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 e f f e c t i v e control.  This was  to be  done i n accordance with the p r i n c i p l e 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 r e a l l y or  apparently so e l i g i b l e as the situation of the independent lowest c l a s s " :  labourer of the  1 4  All r e l i e f whatever to able-bodied persons or to t h e i r families otherwise than in a well-regulated workhouse shall be declared u n l a w f u l . 15  The  bill  was  first  implemented  opposition, but nowhere was  in  the  South  of  England  and  met  with  there more organized opposition to t h i s Poor Law  Amendment Act as i n the N o r t h .  16  ( Every class  popular  hostility.  proponents  assured  leader regarded They never parliament  the  doubted that  New  that i t was  Poor Law  as  an  instrument  the Amendment Act was not,  "a  Malthusian  of  what the bill  designed to force the poor to break up t h e i r families, emigrate and work for lower wages.  17  Edsall maintains that:  - 48 -  Only i f i t i s realized that the opposition leaders sincerely believed that the New Poor Law was designed in accordance with the s t r i c t e s t dictates of Malthusian and l a i s s e z - f a i r e philosophy as the f i r s t step towards the a b o l i t i o n of statutory r e l i e f f o r the poor i s 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 t h e i r leaders.  The  resistance to the Amendment Act moved into high gear in the spring  of 1836.  With an Assistant Poor Law  resistance had leaders  who  transition  to be organized  had from  been one  immediately.  prominent issue  to  Commissioner already touring the North,  in  the  the  A l l of the major anti-Poor  factory  other  reform  smoothly.  campaign  I t meant that,  weeks instead of months, a wel 1-organized resistance m a t e r i a l i z e d .  During textile  the  early  districts  weeks of  held  at  least  1837, one  thousand people showed up at a r a l l y on the workhouse.  21  The  virtually public  Assistant Poor Law  founders of the South Lancashire  than having to overcome any  local  keeping pace with  Bradford  i n l a t e 1837  local and  anti-Poor  Law  and  within  19  town  meeting.  in  the  20  Ten  proceeded to march  the workhouse.  Anti-Poor Law  Association,  rather  i n e r t i a , found that a l l they had to do  "channel the r i s i n g tide of anti-Poor in  major  Law  sentiment". attended by  22  the  Commissioner escaped through a  back door and the crowd subsequently destroyed  The  every  in Huddersfield  made  Law  f e e l i n g , and A great  i t s main problem  was was  protest meeting held in  three of the main leaders,  Oastler,  - 49 -  0'Conner  and B u l l ,  extraordinary  proved  situation  to be  "not an extraordinary response  but one of the f i r s t  of a long l i n e  to an  of larger,  longer and n o i s i e r meetings".23  Oastler wrote to Lord John Russell:  If the church, the throne and the aristocracy are determined to rob the poor man of h i s l i b e r t y , of his l i f e , and of h i s 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 t h e i r b i t t e r e s t foes would I c r y , Down with Them, Down with Them A l l to the Ground.24  Indeed, the Assistant Commissioners  feared f o r t h e i r l i v e s as i t was obvious  that the opposition to the New Poor Law i n the North had the confidence of the people and could be " f a i r l y  certain of carrying the population of t h i s  area i n whatever course of action i t decided to t a k e " .  25  The popular resistance to the New Poor Law i n the North, I suggest, i s a very strong indication that the t e x t i l e workers' declining family size was not as the r e s u l t numbers by marrying could  support  of the Malthusian message that  late and abstaining from sexual intercourse until  a family.  Litchfield  indeed common among t e x t i l e  Moreover, the "abuses" prevalent i n the North. average  they must l i m i t  workers.  has shown  that  early  marriages  their they were  26  that the New Poor Law was to correct were not  Illegitimacy was lower f o r Lancashire than i t was  f o r the rest of England, and t e x t i l e workers were found to be less  - 50 -  p r o l i f i c than any other occupational rather  than  delaying  marriage  group.  There was some suspicion that,  or abstaining  working-class women were using c o n t r a c e p t i v e s .  The  strict  Malthusians  threat to the moral working poverty  classes and  improvidence.  of contraceptives  be  the positive and preventative  forced  disciples  to  take  Francis Place,  districts,  of Bentham,  however,  several  a Benthamite, distributed  explaining  contraception.  the use of the sponge  He obtained  tracts  support  from  f o r their  d i d not hold  and withdrawal Carlile  who  that a saline  Although these  misery  or abstinence,  solution should  published,  be used together  early " b i r t h - c o n t r o l l e r s " ,  as they  with  came to be  they  nevertheless  seemed  to agree with the  that the poor were responsible f o r t h e i r own d i s t r e s s .  Carlile,  f o r example, took the position that  wages up beyond a level They  was the l a s t of the early  offered the working classes a way of avoiding Malthus' options of  Malthusians and  published  The American  t r a c t s which, i n addition to what was already  added the information  either  method of  on birth-control methods, describing the use of the sponge  nineteenth-century  called,  In  handbills i n working-class  Richard  physician Charles Knowlton's F r u i t s of Philosophy  sponge.  that  God's moral laws.  for women, the glove f o r men and also the withdrawal method.  the  as a  checks on  responsibility  u t i l i z i n g contraceptives was i n some way circumventing 1823,  intercourse,  and economic fabric of society because i t allowed the  not  The  sexual  27  saw the u t i l i z a t i o n  to circumvent  thus  from  stressed  that  unions  could  determined by the forces of supply  i f the lower  classes  restricted  their  Place  not drive  and demand. numbers  28  they  - 51 -  could demand higher pay. to  The entanglement with Malthusian economics  tended  open the b i r t h - c o n t r o l l e r s to attacks i n the press that t h e i r theories  were class biased i n favour of the ruling c l a s s e s .  2 9  II  The  defense  1820's was  of b i r t h control  finally  institutionalized  Malthusian League. trial  in  which  This was  Charles  any  discussion of  Bradlaugh  coincide  with  the  birth  steady  in 1877  with  the  formation  also the year of the famous  d i s t r i b u t i n g obscene l i t e r a t u r e . in  which began with the u t i l i t a r i a n s i n the  and  Annie  The year 1877  control,  because  decline of  the  Besant  of  the  Bradlaugh-Besant  were  charged  with  i s often considered c r u c i a l these  birth  two  rate  events and  seemed  to  therefore were  believed to be causally related.  Official  statistics,  however, published a f t e r  1900  but extending back  to 1850 show that some b i r t h rates peaked long before the 1870's which would indicate  that neither the  credited with  trial  "causing" the b i r t h  nor  the  formation  rate to decline.  of  the  League can  Rosanna Ledbetter  be 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 labour.  of 30  society  which  made  much  of  i t s teaching  unacceptable  to  - 52 -  The  major  specifically  opposition  came  to  precisely  groups  Socialist  League, arguing on behalf that  as  generally  from working-class  socialist  profits  such  Malthusians  the  Socialist  industrialization was  and  to  spokesmen  Democratic  the  and  League  organized and  the  of labour's right to partake of  the  producing.31  Federation,  Moreover,  working-class  moral critique drew from Christian teaching on charity and interdependence of  Christians.  leaving  the  32  (The  arguments  Church  to  did  not  the political  really  enter  into  organizations.)33  the  debate,  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  reorganization  of  the  means  of  The solution to poverty was  production.  Contrary  to Malthusian  - 53 -  thinking, they argued that, remain  the  natural  same or  price  or  fall  level  i f the poor reduced t h e i r numbers, wages would  because at  which  the a  market worker  price and  of  his  wages followed  family  could  the  sustain  themselves.  Any major  messages that might have been sent to the working classes  socialist  practices  organizations  whether for fear  were against  of  poverty  or  b i r t h control. for the  Birth  intention  by  the  control  of augmenting  possessions were considered i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c and a n t i s o c i a l .  The  moderate  revolution  but  Fabian  socialists,  wanted more state  however, who  control  of  were not  interested  i n s t i t u t i o n s , could,  like  in the  b i r t h - c o n t r o l l e r s , understandably have alienated working classes with t h e i r message that limited families were a duty. Protest  has  motivated  pointed  by  out  "compassion"  Shaws and Wells wanted was much  concerned  stock" was  that  that  the  for  Fabian  the  Harvey Mitchell Beatrice  working  classes.  a more e f f i c i e n t society.  society  was  degenerating  3 5  The  not  What  and  generally the  Webbs,  Fabians were very  because mostly  l i m i t i n g i t s families while the increase  from " i n f e r i o r " stock.  Webb was  in Workers  in population  the was  The Webbs advised that:  In Greater B r i t a i n at t h i s moment, when h a l f , or perhaps two-thirds of the married people are regulating t h e i r f a m i l i e s , children are being f r e e l y born to Irish Roman Catholics and P o l i s h , Russian and German Jews, on the one hand and to the t h 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 cities on the other. This p a r t i c u l a r 25 percent of our population... i s producing 50  "better coming  - 54 percent of our children. This can hardly r e s u l t in anything but national deterioration; or an a l t e r n a t i v e , i n t h i s country gradually f a l l i n g to the I r i s h and the Jews.36  The  Webbs  did  note  that  some working  families and singled out the cotton  classes  were  limiting  their  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 l a s t twenty years, spread widely among the factory operatives and s k i l l e d artisans of Great Britain.37  The  Webbs believed  developing,  but  that there was  bemoaned  the  fact  no  that  fear of some sort of the  "less  sterility  intelligent"  were  not  where  the  emulating the a r t i s a n :  This change implies, on the part of both husband and wife, a large measure of foresight, deliberateness, and self-control, which i s out of reach of the less i n t e l l i g e n t and more self-indulgent classes, and d i f f i c u l t for the very poor, especially f o r the occupants of one-roomed houses.38  The  Webbs  "intelligent"  wanted  were  a  the  norm.  facilities,  education  they would  abandon a l l other  message could  not  working c l a s s poor.  be  and  more  egalitarian They  suggested  rewards for the careers  considered  society  but  that  the  one  state  provide  r i g h t kind of mothers to ensure  f o r the  sake  as having relevance  of  motherhood.  Their  for a large number of  - 55 Had the various i n f l u e n t i a l to  r i d themselves  groups i n the nineteenth century been able  of Malthusian dogma, eugenics and  inoperable solutions,  t h e i r messages might have had relevance f o r the working classes. limitation benefits  been  of  encouraged  fewer  for  pregnancies  reasons  are  of  indeed  health,  since  the  health benefits, one  Had family immediate would have  expected to f i n d a more healthy and vigorous working class than was i n f a c t the  case.  The  investigations  which  were  precipitated  emphasized that the danger facing the nation was but that of a s i c k l y o n e .  by  the  Boer  War  not too large a population  39  r However, the medical  profession i t s e l f  which should have been i n the  vanguard of health promotion and family planning was more concerned with the moral and social implications of family l i m i t a t i o n .  We do not know how many  working-class people ever v i s i t e d a doctor, but i f the message in private was  the  same  "enlightenment"  as  what  was  said  in  public,  i t cannot  or assistance i n checking population.  have  served  as  The e x p l i c i t message  from doctors was both h o s t i l e to b i r t h control and misleading to the patient.  For the early part of the century, the medical profession maintained an official  silence  individually shall  see  regarding  family  limitation,  although  when  questioned  during the course of i n q u i r i e s into factory conditions, as  in the  next  chapter, doctors expressed  disgust that  birth control were being distributed i n the factory towns.  tracts  our period.  Why  on  During the l a s t  few decades of the century, some doctors openly supported b i r t h control the medical profession as a whole remained  we  but  adamantly opposed to the end of  did the medical profession take the position that a l l b i r t h  - 56 -  control was despicable, harmful association  and tantamount to infanticide?  of contraception with  prostitution  made  doctors  really  may  quackery,  i t an unrespectable have  believed  that  study  self-help  F i r s t l y , the  and to some extent  f o r doctors;  secondly,  contraceptives were  harmful;  t h i r d l y , because doctors had not studied the subject seriously, they to confuse Section  contraception and abortion.  of the B r i t i s h  advocates  of  birth  Medical  control  The medical regarding control Medical  and  tended  In a speech before the Obstetrical  Assocation  of advancing  onanism and i n d i r e c t i n f a n t i c i d e " .  some  i n 1878, C.H. "sexual  Routh  fraudulency,  accused conjugal  4 0  profession did not want to even acknowledge that questions of " b i r t h " and therefore " l i f e " were medical  Times and Gazette  issues.  The  protested that the question had been directed to  doctors:  We cannot f i n d words s u f f i c i e n t l y strong to express utter abhorrence and condemnation of the idea of discussing such a question as a purely medical one. I t i s not a medical question and w i l l never become so ...41  I t i s unlikely that many doctors f e l t free to advise t h e i r patients on methods of family l i m i t a t i o n . British  Gynaecological  As late  as 1904, Taylor, president of the  Society whom I have already quoted i n the previous  chapter, was adamant that no advice  " i n favour of" b i r t h control  given, however, he believed doctors should study the subject:  should be  - 57  -  In the Medical Profession i t s e l f the e v i l s of prevention both immediate and remote should be studied more c l o s e l y , and explained to such patients as need d i r e c t i o n and advice. No advice should be given i n favour of i t without special consideration of the subject i n a l l i t s bearings and due consideration.42  Some of the "bearings spelled out i n his 1904  and considerations" in the president's view are  presidential  address  to the B r i t i s h  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 i s slowly undermined ...43  Taylor was  specific:  In one or two instances I have known acute p e r i t o n i t i s to immediately follow the use of an i n j e c t i o n a f t e r sexual intercourse. The cervical canal appears to be often unusually patent at this time, and the danger i s neither an unimportant nor isolated one. In another instance I was consulted f o r an acute purulent v a g i n i t i s d i r e c t l y following the use of a mechanical shield ...44  These were the physical hazards, but danger to the mental f a c u l t i e s even greater:  *  was  - 58 -  ... far more common i s 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 i s especially marked i n many of these cases of sexual onanism ... The health and normal stamina of those who use these 'checks' i s slowly undermined.45  Condoms, sponges, douches and unnatural  nature  could  only  drugs were a l l attacked, which by  "damage  and  derange"  the  user.  their Even  46  abstinence was only to be tolerated in very special instances:  My own opinion i s that while abstinence in married l i f e i s 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 i s advisable save that which i s produced by operation, when deformity or grave disease imperatively demands it.47  Taylor  believed that women's bodies  children than from repeated pregnancies.  suffered more  from  not  bearing  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 w i l l s t i l l have to go to mothers of large families i f you want to point to the f i n e s t and healthiest examples of advanced B r i t i s h matronhood.48  Taylor was women.  He  convinced  pointed  remarkable results patient.  to  that seminal the  i n cases  He suggested that:  fluid  injection of s e n i l i t y ,  of  had  a therapeutic e f f e c t  "testicular  irrespective  juices" of the  sex  and of  on the the  - 59 -  ... some tonic constituent of the seminal f l u i d may be taken up by the uterus, and thus a f f e c t the general organism; and there i s nothing unreasonable i n the suggestion that such absorption may a l l a y the exhaustion which, without i t , i s l i a b l e to follow the act of connection ... the r e s u l t i n g imperfect acts of sexual congress appear to be d i r e c t l y harmful.49  Fatigue  could  thus be allayed and was not a reason to l i m i t  births.  Nor were "disastrous" pregnancies adequate reason for family l i m i t a t i o n :  ... repeatedly disastrous pregnancies may be changed into ones of healthy type and character, solely by what amounts to a special and more l i b e r a l dietary before and during pregnancy, and much of the p a r t i a l collapse and i l l - h e a l t h that i s apt to follow p a r t u r i t i o n and accompany lactation may be modified or altogether avoided by due provision and d i r e c t i o n f o r hygienic requirements of mother and c h i l d , p a r t i c u l a r l y as regards r e s t and food.50  Taylor, which  although  from Birmingham, ignored  working women could  under  which  considerably.  women  not indulge.  entered  that  r e s t was a luxury i n  The changing  factories  increased  economic  their  conditions  working  time  Taylor, nevertheless, maintained that:  The increased work and s e l f - s a c r i f i c e also necessitated by the growth of the family ... a l l have t h e i r ennobling effect.51  This sort of evidence suggests that the medical profession, despite i t s privileged p o s i t i o n of being in  need  options.  of advice, Despite  able to communicate d i r e c t l y with  was not providing  the continued  working-class  opposition  women  of the doctors,  the patient with  viable  the b i r t h  rate  - 60 continued  to  plunged  from  1910-12.  52  plunge 34.1  downward. per  Doctors  assisting  women i n abortion.  declared  the  Glauber's  salts  women resorting  in  last  decades  1870-72  to  of  24.5  that midwives, chemists "In  some of  Physician, the  i s understood  rate of the factory  the  thousand  suspected  Cottage  In  the  "use  thought  deduction we  doses  districts", of  low  to be  Epsom  illegitimacy  the  result  draw" wrote W.R.  Greg, a  to state, i s f a r from uncommon among the abandoned females of these  guilt."  Dr.  5 4  Lyon  prematurely  Playfair  claimed  practiced i n the factory d i s t r i c t s .  It  is  unlikely  that  the  the  fruit  that  the  of  painful  destroying  by  or  officer,  of  confirmed  in  medical  districts  " i s also materially  thousand  herbalists were  The  53  "The  per  and  large  to be very common."  to abortion.  century, i t  manufacturing  of  towns of Lancashire was  the  and  indeed  practice, which i s  evidence  of  their  infanticide  was  being  5 5  messages  percolating  down  to  the  classes, which we have examined here, provided them with any new  working  knowledge  or techniques that would have assisted them i n making deliberate decisions to  limit  ignored  their  the  reality  economics must classes. medical  The  be  contact with  that,  Propagandists  for  and  against  birth  in family planning, health care and  inextricably  linked  to  have  control  short-term  relevance f o r the  working  family faced with repeated and often disastrous pregnancies,  bills,  contemplate  families.  the at  and  no  safe way  national least  good.  of correcting The  some of the  medical families  the  vicious  profession, i n need  of  information partly out of ignorance but also out of disgust.  cycle  does not  which had  direct  advice, withheld  - 61 Despite  the general  continued to decline.  opposition  to b i r t h  would have been almost  between  impossible i n most cases, even, as we shall  was operative i n reducing  The Webbs maintained  see in  that "some cause"  family size that had not been operative i n the  early part of the century.  environments,  rate  deliberate and spontaneous miscarriages  Chapter V, f o r the women themselves.  was  the b i r t h  The suspicion was that abortion was on the increase.  However, to d i f f e r e n t i a t e  sterility"  control,  They d i d not believe however that "some form of  developing;  the c o r o l l a r y  I  suggest  that  there  of the factory system,  was.  The  i n which  polluted  the working  classes found themselves i n ever greater numbers during the second half of the  century,  reproduction. environments "controlled"  were In of  suspected the  the  by  next  chapter,  general  environment  of  some  cotton  "ideal"  enquirers I  will  factory  mills  and  to  be  contrast in  hazardous the  Lancashire  examine  observers evaluated t h e i r respective e f f e c t on families.  how  to  polluted with  the  contemporary  - 62 -  NOTES TO CHAPTER III 1.  Piero S t r a f f a and M.H. Dobb (eds.), The David Ricardo, Cambridge, 1962, p. 71.  Works and  2.  T.R. Malthus, An Essay on the Principles New York Random House, 1860, p. 303.  of Population, 1st ed. 1798,  3.  Ibid., p. 531.  4.  John Butt, editor, Robert Owen, Prince Charles Ltd., England, 19/1, p. 13.  5.  Rosanna 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, c i t e d Tn Nicolas C. E d s a l l , 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, c i t e d in McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 45T  11.  J.P. Kay, The Moral London, 1832, p. 4.  12.  N. E d s a l l , The Anti-Poor Law Movement, 1834-44, 1971, p. 4.  13.  Loc. c i t .  14.  E d s a l l , Op. c i t . , p. 7.  15.  Poor Law Commissioners, into the Administration B.P.P., 1834, p. 146.  16.  E d s a l l , Op. c i t . , p. 129.  17.  Ibid., p. 76.  18.  Ibid., p. 22.  19.  Ibid., p. 57.  Ledbetter, The  Correspondence of  of Cotton Spinners,  David &  Organization That Delayed Birth Control,  and  Physical  Condition  of  the Working  1972,  Classes,  "Report of H.M. Commissioners for Inquiring and Practical Operation of the Poor Laws",  - 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, c i t e d Ibid., p. 124.  25.  Ibid., p. 143.  26.  R. Burr L i t c h f i e l d , "The Family and the M i l l : Cotton M i l l Work, Family Work Patterns, and F e r t i l i t y i n 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 C h a r l i l e , What i s Love? Containing Most Important Instructions f o r the Prudent Regulation of the P r i n c i p l e of Love and the Number of the Family, 1826, c i t e d i n 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 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, Op. c i t . , p. 188.  Physical  Deterioration,  1904,  cited  Control:  by  A  McLaren,  40.  C.H. Routh, Physical E v i l s p. 130.  iii,  pp. 8,  9, c i t e d  McLaren, Op.  cit.,  41.  McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 130.  42.  John W. Taylor, On the Diminishing B i r t h 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, c i t e d 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 I l l u s t r a t e d , London, 1842, p. 26; Lyon P l a y f a i r , Report on the State of Large Towns i n Lancashire, London, 1845, 128 f f . , McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 63.  55.  c f . 11, McLaren, Op. c i t . , p. 88.  i n McLaren, Op. c i t . ,  - 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 b u i l t here Among those dark Satanic Mi 11 si  In  this  chapter,  I  contrast  the  unwholesome  environments  of  the  "Satanic M i l l s " i n general with the "controlled" environments of model m i l l s and  examine  health  as  respective e f f e c t  observed  observations impinged  their  tend  by to  on  contemporaries support  my  the  of  operatives' occupations  the  contention  nineteenth that  century.  environmental  on cotton operatives in the work place and may  and  Their factors  have s i g n i f i c a n t l y  influenced family size.  The  Registrar General, commenting on the " F e r t i l i t y  1851-1911" contained i n the 1911 that  the  authors  consistently of  of  the  Census, drew special  "Report"  had  not  of Marriage  Report  attention to the fact  been able  to  account  small families of operatives engaged in the weaving  f o r the processes  the t e x t i l e trade i n contrast to the r e l a t i v e l y larger families of those  working i n the spinning section of the same trade. explanation  i s probably  occupations of wives." track.  Certainly,  l a s t chapter  do  2  to be The  found  largely  not account  suggested  that "the  in the difference between the  Registrar General  voluntary l i m i t a t i o n  He  may  have been on the  theories which we  f o r the variations  examined  in working-class  right in the  fertility  - 66 patterns of operatives l i v i n g but  in  different  inferred  that  job  the  in the same county, engaged in the same trade  categories.  explanation  was  The  Registrar  General  possibly to be  found  seems in the  to  have  different  environments of the female spinners and weavers.  An  association between contaminated environments and  ill-defined,  had  Some enquirers, between dust production of the  been suggested by as  and  we  shall  see,  reproductive  social  reformers  early i n the  actually suggested  impairment was  illness,  that  probable.  however century.  an association  However,  poverty,  and morality were more of an issue than health for a large part  nineteenth  century.  emerge as an important  I t therefore took  a long  time for health  to  issue when assessing the e f f e c t of the factory system  on the working classes.  In the l i t e r a t u r e of the nineteenth course, system,  both  strong  depending  opposition on  the  to,  and  century, great  Weltanschauung  of  there i s to be found, of support the  f o r , the particular  factory writer.  Testimony, therefore, can be biased according to the individual's purpose in providing invoked  the in  information.  the  mechanistic landscape was  laws  name of of  William Blake's social  Bacon,  an expression.  reform,  Newton 3  For Blake,  of the nation could create a new that created  by  "mechanistic  and  "dark Satanic M i l l s " ,  were Locke,  viewed of  as  which  so often  consequences the  of  industrial  only a change of heart and mind  society less hideous and  rationalism".  4  William  imprisoning  Cooke Taylor, on  than the  - 67 -  other hand, son of a manufacturer, create social happiness.  saw the factory  system as a vehicle to  After his second tour through the t e x t i l e towns to  see whether he had erred in his f i r s t positive impression, he wrote i n 1844:  But t h i s by no means refutes my position that the factory system may be so conducted and i n 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 e v i l i n themselves ... they may be so ill-conducted as to prove much evil;  and that cases may arise  between  the employer  ... to render an authoritative interference  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 the  enquiries  implicit  were  largely  i n this chapter was generated.  concerned  with  economic  responsible  factors  could  be affecting  operative c l a s s . ten, twelve,  "unwholesome"  for their  misery;  factors,  production and the social  The environment sometimes  other  i n which  fourteen  and "impure".  In selecting  particulary  health  condition  of the  frequently  testimony  as  f o r the purpose  of  the impact  attempted  to include information from witnesses who had d i r e c t  both  "unwholesome"  and  factors  "well-conducted"  themselves  described  assessing  with  of environmental  was  issues,  the poor were not  the operatives found  hours  Although  and moral  i n the testimony was the concept that perhaps  totally  for  utilized  on the operatives,  factories.  I have  involvement Whether  the  - 68 -  testimony  was  in  favour  government intervention,  or  against  cotton  the  dust  factory  contaminated  system,  for or  against  environments were  cited  frequently as a cause of the operatives' d i s t r e s s .  Actually,  man  had  been  inhaling  harmful  dust  for  centuries  but  occupations carried on i n the open a i r probably produced  too l i t t l e dust to  have a noticeable e f f e c t  short l i f e  Also,  prior  on  health over the r e l a t i v e l y  to mechanization,  cotton  was  washed  generally kept dust levels down and explains why  before  span.  7  processing which  symptoms of i l l health were  not commonly associated much e a r l i e r with processing cotton.  "With machines' came dust"  and  descriptions of abnormal  conditions of  the respiratory t r a c t among cotton operatives began to appear in l i t e r a t u r e all  over the i n d u s t r i a l i z i n g world.  A number of investigations are of note  in  bringing health problems related  to cotton dust  into  focus  during  our  40's  was  period.  The  investigation  factory  reform  initiated  to assess the economic and  social  attention  of  the  into  government.  operatives were unproductive,  On  the  one  Debate spread  the  1830's  and  problems being brought hand, there  to the  were reports that  given to drunkenness, neglect of the family,  promiscuity and possibly procuring i l l e g a l major problem.  in  abortions.  Poverty was  into English Parliament,  seen as a  newspaper and  pub.  Was  poverty, as Malthus had said, an inevitable concomitant  of the pressure  of  population  an  distribution  on  resources,  of wealth,  or  brought  was about  i t the by  an  result economic  of  system  inequitable created  and  - 69 -  controlled  by the few to the detriment  Was reform f u t i l e , merely did  encouraging  indolence and s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n ?  the government have r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  means of production  treated t h e i r  and impoverishment of the many?  i n ensuring  workers  0  Or  that the owners of the  fairly?  These  questions  were  debated and sometimes tested throughout the nineteenth century.  was  Spearheading  the research into factory reform i n the 1830's and 1840's  Lord Ashley.  Like most of his associates, he assumed that the problems  affecting  the cotton operatives' families  women did not work i n f a c t o r i e s .  would  be greatly  alleviated i f  Recognizing the economic impossibility of  such a proposal, he argued that the reduction of working hours f o r women and children  would ensure  offspring.  that women had more time  He emphasized the moral  to care  f o r the nation's  value of the proposed  l e g i s l a t i o n and  warned against the social e v i l of female employment i f not c o n t r o l l e d :  ... the e v i l i s spreading rapidly and extensively desolating l i k e a torrent the peace, the economy and the virtue of the mighty masses of the manufacturing districts. Domestic l i f e and domestic d i s c i p l i n e must soon be at an end; society w i l l consist of individuals no longer grouped into families; so early i s the separation of husband and wife, of parent and c h i l d r e n . 9  The manufacturers Ashley  were opposed to the Ten Hours B i l l  f o r the obvious  production.  reason  that  they  believed  Dr. W. Cooke Taylor, son of manufacturer  have already quoted,  toured  most of the manufacturers  the North  factory  free enterprise and that the i l l s  i t would  by Lord reduce  Robert Taylor, whom I  districts  did, that there should  proposed  and concluded, as  be no interference with  of the Factory System could be cured with  - 70  Malthusian misery.  economic  practice.  The  I f they could not support  poor  -  were  responsible  for  their  t h e i r children i n health i t was  of imprudence on the part of the parent.  because  He claimed that "Whatever i s e v i l  and wrong i n the condition of the children has arisen from previous e v i l wrong in the condition of the  parent."  the  purpose".  best  of  the  heart  to  "which endeavours to  the  In his e f f o r t s to d i s c r e d i t Ashley,  11  that Ashley  feelings  and  10  Cooke Taylor accused Ashley of pseudo-philanthropy pervert  own  basest  of  political  Taylor erroneously  had not v i s i t e d the m i l l s personally "nor  by proxy".  stated  He wrote  sarcastically:  He v i s i t s a cotton mi 11 i Not he t r u l y ! He wonders how much such a thing could be proposed to him! A greater wonder i s that he did not discover himself to be v i r t u a l l y asserting that the best q u a l i f i c a t i o n s f o r l e g i s l a t i n g on any subject i s utter ignorance of the entire matter."12  Cooke  Taylor  personally. Lord Ashley's  was  wrong;  His proxy was  Bill.  the  mills  both  "by  proxy"  William Dodd, "a factory c r i p p l e " who  Cripple, Written by Himself.  "helper" i n assessing the social  working-class just  visited  attention with his Narrative of the Experiences  of William Dodd a Factory his  Ashley  point of view.  e v i l s of the  Dodd went on  as Cooke Taylor did, sending Although Dodd advised Ashley  Ashley  attracted  and Suffering  He engaged Dodd as  factory system from  tour of the  and  the  factory d i s t r i c t s  reports to support  the  Ten  Hour  that "there i s no doubt that the m i l l s  1  - 71 and  factories  here are  the  problems  of  hot  beds of vice and  i l l health  more  than  on  wickedness", the  social  1,3  he  focused  behaviour  on  of  the  health  was  operatives.  The  main theme of Dodd's l e t t e r s was  seriously  impaired  by  the  long  that the operatives'  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 i s no wonder that they are generally pale, s i c k l y looking diminutive people and greatly i n c l i n e d to asthma and consumption. ... I hear of others dying early period of l i f e . 1 4  Dodd  emphasized  physician, who  his  in decline of asthma at a very  observations  had written i n  by  quoting  Dr.  Kay,  a  Manchester  1832:  These artisans are frequently subject to a disease in which the s e n s i b i l i t i e s of the stomach and bowels i s markedly excited; the alvine secretions are deranged and the appetite impaired. Whilst t h i s state continues, the patient loses f l e s h , his features are sharpened, the skin becomes pale, leaden colored, or of yellow hue which i s observed i n 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 s p e c i f i c 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 m i l l immediately occasions a short dry cough, which harasses him considerably i n the day, but ceases immediately a f t e r he leaves the m i l l and inspires an atmosphere free from foreign molecules. These symptoms became generally more severe; cough i s at length very frequent during the day, and continuous even a f t e r i t s employments have ceased, disturbing the sleep, and exhausting the strength of the patient, but i t i s accompanied with l i t t l e or no expectoration. In this stage, he seeks medical aid. He i s harassed with a frequent cough, which i s often excited by speaking, s l i g h t exertion, or change of temperature. The patient sometimes expectorates a l i t t l e , but the cough i s 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, a r i s i n g as i t were from an i n a b i l i t y to d i l a t e the chest freely i n 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 i s little febrile action. On the application of the stethoscope, no rales are in general perceptible, the respiratory murmer i s scarcely puerile. The patient i s e a s i l y a f f l i c t e d with acute bronchitis on exposure to i t s exciting causes and t h i s disease often succeeds the previous complaint.16  Dodd  observed  that  the  cotton  dust  was  greatest  in  areas  where  preparatory processes were i n operation:  Those who have no steam around them ... the carders etc., have dust to trouble them which i s enough at times to choke them ...17  He warned that the l i f e was  expectancy  of operatives exposed  to the dust  much shorter than that of workers employed i n dust-free environments.  From Leeds, he wrote Ashley of a "worn out" man of forty-three.  - 73 -  He i s 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 l o s t a l l appetite f o r food.I 8  To had  a  emphasize his point that operatives exposed much  shorter  life  span  than  that  of  to a dusty atmosphere  other  workers,  he  quoted  s t a t i s t i c s from a Friendly Society's figures:  Some of the very best regulated Societies have found that between twenty and t h i r t y years of age, a man i n 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 i s found to be about two thirds of a week each. But, on referring to Stockport tables we f i n d 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 f o r t y , and some numbers never reach 20.19  The Friendly Societies, descendants of the medieval of  insurance organization.  discrepancy  The figures given to Dodd may  between the l i f e  span  of those operatives who  cotton dust and the l i f e span of those who  were not.  always accept members who were "a bad r i s k " . to  guilds, were a form underestimate the were exposed  to  The Societies did not  Application f o r membership had  pass a medical examination and the u n f i t were rejected.  One member of a  Friendly Society stated:  I was the only one who never passed f o r the Oddfellows. My s i s t e r 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 i n those days. "My mother has sent us to see i f y o u ' l l 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 against  times  constantly urged of  illness  by  the working  belonging  classes  to Friendly  to protect Societies  minority ever belonged; the stringent rules and high fees may reason.  The  operatives belonging to the  themselves but  only a  have been the  Stockport Friendly  Society  must  have been reasonably good r i s k s at the time of application, and the short life  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 ,  i n every mill  where no v e n t i l a t i o n  l e v e l s of dust, Dodd described the work force as " s i c k l y " .  controlled He  visited  the 40  f a c t o r i e s in Bolton and stated that a l l had the same dust problems which he had  found  in most m i l l s  throughout  Lancashire.  21  Of one  specific  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 i n d i s t i n c t l y 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 p a r t i c l e s 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 s u f f i c i e n t l y to enable me to breathe freely.22  factory  He pointed out to Ashley that Dr. Greg, a Lancashire physician who  had  v i s i t e d many of the same f a c t o r i e s , had found:  The a i r i n almost a l l factories i s more or less unwholesome. This of i t s e l f i s s u f f i c i e n t to ennervate and destroy a l l energy of frame; but in addition to mere heat the rooms are often i l l - v e n t i l a t e d ... and from want of v e n t i l a t i o n , the a i r i s very imperfectly oxygenated .... In a word the hands employed in these large manufactories breathe foul a i r f o r 12 out of 24 hours and we know that few things have so s p e c i f i c an injurious action on the digestive organs as the inhalation of impure a i r . The small p a r t i c l e s of cotton dust with which the a i r 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 i n an atmosphere f u l l of impurities evolved by the materials manufactured, such as the dust from f l a x , flue from cotton etc., so prevalent often i n some departments as to render i t d i f f i c u l t f o r individuals to see each other at some distance?24  In answer, Dr. B l i z a r d , a witness, stated that the dust,  - 76 -  ... has a very material e f f e c t upon the small vessels of the lungs; i t mingles with the mucous from the l i n i n g membrane of the lungs; and the air-pipes which become smaller and smaller, u n t i l they terminate in what we c a l l vesicles, have t h e i r functions impaired ...25  Doctor  C.A.  Key  replied  to the  inquiry  that impure a i r 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.  Manchester  Thackrah  mills  in  who  1832  had told  examined the  fifteen  inquiry  that  hundred in  the  employees "more  in  dusty  occupations":  I have found that the lungs are sooner or l a t e r seriously altered in t h e i r capacity; that the power of respiration i s diminished ... and a number of other maladies of other parts or systems are connected with, or r e s u l t from, these diseases of the pulmonary organs. I have had a great number of m i l l people come to my house at d i f f e r e n t times for examination; a party, perhaps of ten at once, who were in d i f f e r e n t departments of the m i l l s ; 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 t h i s to m i l l s where there i s no dust. I would wish to be d i s t i n c t l y understood i n that respect.27  Dodd expressed observed  "women  concern  working  to Ashley  ...  pointed out that Dr. Greg had  till  that i n a l l factories  the  last  stages  of  v i s i t e d he had  pregnancy"  28  and  associated the "ill-oxygenated a i r " with i l l  health, and subsequently with adverse reproductive outcome:  - 77 -  ... i l l - h e a l t h which prevails among the manufacturing population may be traced to the injurious influences which the weakened and v i t i a t e d constitution of women has upon their children. They are often employed in f a c t o r i e s some years after t h e i r marriage and during pregnancy and up to the very period of t h e i r confinement which a l l who have attended to the physiology of the subject know must send t h e i r offspring into the world with a d e b i l i t a t e d and unhealthy frame . . . 29  Dodd maintained that in Bolton, "a great many infants are s t i l l b o r n or die  soon  after  birth".  information; i t may  He  3 0  did  not  document  source  have been that his contact with the Friendly  provided this information.  Roberts,  of  his  Societies  Although workers did not often insure themselves  with Friendly Societies against times f o r i l l n e s s , Elizabeth  the  writing  on  "Disease  they did against death.  Management  in  the  Nineteenth  Century", suggests that:  The strengths of working-class mores, and the demands of working-class r e s p e c t a b i l i t y were such that the l i t t l e surplus income there was went not towards health care f o r the l i v i n g but towards ensuring a decent funeral f o r the dead.31  Some employers Societies money  and  spent  latter.  We  inferring environment. inferences.  had  "schemes"  Dodd may  on  that  not the  to  those  have obtained information on  funerals  are  similar  from  certain.  the It  stillbirths  former's is  causes  related  to  note to  the  Friendly  of death  records, as well  important  were  provided by  as  that  and  from  the  Dodd  was  occupational  E a r l i e r evidence given to Ashley's committee had made similar A  medical  officer  Thomas Young,  witness before Ashley's inquiry i n 1832 was  for example,  asked:  serving  as  a  - 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 i s 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 c e r t a i n l y witnessed. One case of that i s within my r e c o l l e c t i o n , 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 c h i l d apparently about the sixth month.33  There nature,  was  caused  given Ashley's  the by  suggestion  that  the  the work environment.  abortion  was  Indeed  very  of  an  little  Committee that would substantiate accusations  unintentional evidence  was  of intentional  abortions being performed.  The greatly  way  the investigators worded their questions,  biased  remembered, was  the  dialogue.  One  of  Ashley's  The  rest of Engl and.34 stated that  occupational of the  the  groups.  doctors  o f 28  will  be  attributed to  were less  They were asked how  agreed that the  lower i n Lancashire than in  surgeons interviewed  factory operatives 35  it  have  investigators were dumbfounded that the rate of  i l l e g i t i m a c y , a measurement of "immorality", was  27  concerns,  to investigate charges of vice and immorality  the female operatives.  the  of course, may  morals  by Ashley's fertile  t h i s could  in the  Committee,  than were  other  possibly be.  Many  factory towns were bad  and  - 79 -  associated logic was animal  the promiscuity of the that the high temperatures  passions  subsequent typical.  operatives with  to  develop  barrenness.  36  The  their  barrenness.  caused early puberty, which caused the  prematurely following  resulting dialogue  in  with  promiscuity Dr. C.A.  Key  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? 38  Dr. Key  The  responded:  I should think that such an e f f e c t might be expected to be the r e s u l t of immoral habits, such as have been described; as they would tend to develop the sexual passions previously to the f u l l maturity of the body.39  He was asked further:  Is very early and promiscuous sexes o r d i n a r i l y attended, as concerned, with p r o l i f i c n e s s ?  intercourse between the f a r as the female i s  4 0  Dr. Key stated, "I should be i n c l i n e d to think to the c o n t r a r y . "  41  and was  - 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 d i r e c t tendency to produce s t e r i l i t y ; therefore, I would say, that i n the agricultural d i s t r i c t s , the circumstances of intercourse not being followed by conception was the exception; but i n manufacturing d i 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 i l l e g i t i m a t e births  i n the factory  towns  than  assumed that the close proximity for  hours surely led to increased  One of the explanations sexual  who  there  social  and sexual  intercourse a f t e r work.  f o r the low i l l e g i t i m a c y rate was that  were  were almost  medical as  officers  insightful  Dr. B.C. Brodie linked diminished  They  of males and females working i n f a c t o r i e s  intercourse i s one of the causes of barrenness".  However, inquiry  i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l d i s t r i c t s .  giving  43  testimony  as Dr. Greg  "excessive  would  at the same prove  to be.  fecundity with unhealthy work conditions.  When asked:  In a l l u s i o n to the morals i n many of the m i l l s and factories where t h i s degree of labour i s habitually undergone, i t i s stated by many of the witnesses that they are i n a most deplorable state; but that notwithstanding t h i s i t i s said that not more i l l e g i t i m a t e children are produced by females under those circumstances than by those engaged i n a g r i c u l t u r a l and other pursuits; do you conceive that labour, i n t e r f e r i n g with the health of the females, diminishes the power of fecundity?44  - 81 He t o l d 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 t h i s circumstance alone, the number of i l l e g i t i m a t e children would be less.45  We the  can assume that the Commissioners did not accept the concept  lower  behaviour.  fertility  of  the  cotton operatives was  Commissioner MacKintosh,  the  result  of  that  immoral  summing up evidence f o r Ashley i n 1832,  commented:  In regard to morals, we find that though the statements and depositions of the d i f f e r e n t witnesses that have been examined are to a considerable degree c o n f l i c t i n g , y e t 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 i n the same station and with the same limited means of information.46  Perhaps the Commissioners were simply least Poor Law  benefits would not be  relieved  to be  supporting the f r u i t s  assured  that at  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  ill  health  would provide him with a reason to recommend government intervention.  The witnesses singled out the dusty atmosphere of most m i l l s as crucial to the health of the operatives. was  that dust which interfered  Implicit and e x p l i c i t i n t h e i r  with  the  respiration  statements  of operatives was  to  - 82 -  blame f o r t h e i r  fatigue, low productivity, lung,  blood  and  reproductive  system malfunction.  In sharp contrast to the "Satanic m i l l s " Dodd had described to Ashley, he and others pointed out model m i l l s where the environment was ventilated and  the condition of the operatives much improved.  that  Dr. Thackrah who had examined 1,500 mill  operatives  over 40 diseased,  m i l l s where there i s no dust. that r e s p e c t . "  47  specifically  It will  workers  be remembered  and had found a l l  stated, "I do not apply  I would wish to be d i s t i n c t l y  t h i s to  understood i n  A Dr. J.H. Green advised Ashley's Committee:  I am not, indeed prepared to say that the causes adverted to e x i s t universally i n our f a c t o r i e s , 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 c a r d e r s . Mr.  Taylor's m i l l  49  Cooke Taylor  i n Preston  as having  also mentioned ideal  work environments.  Dodd referred to Ashton and Woods m i l l s as being model m i l l s .  50  and a William  comparable to Ashworth's  5 1  It seems that well-ventilated m i l l s were a r a r i t y apart  from most other m i l l s .  ideal  working conditions are those  Eagley  Ashton's mill  mills,  and l i t e r a l l y  stood  The m i l l s most often singled out as having of Henry Ashworth, the Egerton  both located several miles  out of Bolton.  and New  More d e t a i l s of  - 83 these m i l l s are found i n the l i t e r a t u r e than of any other single m i l l .  The  evidence  the  of  dust-free  a l l contemporaries  environment  was  who  visited  conducive  these  to  mills  healthy  was  families.  that  "The  5 2  work-people here c e r t a i n l y look more healthy than factory people generally," wrote  Dodd  to  "well-aired  Ashley,  and  attributed  buildings"  at  both  commented  on  the  specifically  their  Egerton  and  children's  healthy  New  Eagley  mental  5 4  "some very sharp boys, very quick in a r i t h m e t i c " .  appearances sites.  to Dodd  5 3  productivity  noting  55  Henry Ashworth, co-owner with his brother, of the Ashworth Enterprise, led  the  Lancashire  legislation.  Thus,  5 6  Parliamentary  manufacturers he  Factory  and  Lord  Reform  who  Ashley,  Movement  opposed who  after  the  "Ten  Hours"  had  become leader of  the  1832  election,  the were  representative of the two opposing classes and "often faced each other with antagonism".  Nevertheless,  57  Ashworth m i l l s astonishing."  that "they  "No the  ...  they  due  to the  his  visits  are  to  clean and  "mighty advantages of ...  v i s i t o r to the Ashworth m i l l s ever complained  Enterprise,  6 0  seeing  after  the quite  locality,  58  operatives,"  many and  are worth  noted  He agreed with Dodd's assessment that the "healthy state" of  the Ashworth employees was fine a i r . . , "  Ashley  wrote  Rhodes  "most were f u l l  varied  including  Boyson  in  his  of the conditions of  history  of  of praise f o r a l l they saw." Disraeli,  59  the  Ashworth  V i s i t o r s were  Lord John Manners, Cobden and Bright.  Friend and opponent of the factory  system, a l i k e , p a r t i c u l a r l y praised  the ventilatory system i n Ashworth's m i l l s .  - 84 "Large atmosphere  fans, of  ventilation." commented  the  the  by  various  Medical  6 1  on  driven  the  mill  rooms  engine  and  officers  the  privies  testifying  "effectiveness"  62  of  the  extracted  to  dust  from  the  had  fans  and  also  the  Factory  ventilation  Commission  system.  Nassau  Senior, i n his Letters on the Factory Act described the fans as "perfectly successful".  63  Dust from the high velocity of the machinery was ways.  The machinery was well maintained  the operatives to allow for the dust Factory  with s u f f i c i e n t room between i t and  to s e t t l e or to be e x t r a c t e d .  Commission commented that Ashworth's machinery was  most beautifully close  controlled in several  enought  constructed, to  breath  fenced  dust  o f f so  generated  "the  that operatives by  them".  newest  would Cooke  65  The  64  not  and be  Taylor,  commenting on the machinery stated:  So much space i s occupied by the machinery that crowding i s physically impossible. I should be very well contented to have as large a proportion of room and a i r i n my own study as a cotton spinner.66  I n i t i a l l y , Ashworth's m i l l s housed spinning f a c i l i t i e s and as early as 1823  were  excellent processes  internationally ventilation. but  "maintained  sheds were as well was  6 7  reputed In  1854,  to  be he  "outstanding" combined  his renowned standard  "ventilated as had  c o n t r o l l e d to between 65  and  70  of  because  spinning  and  b u i l d i n g " , the  been the spinning sheds. degrees, at l e a s t  than average temperatures of the m i l l s i n B o l t o n . "  68  five  of  the  weaving weaving  Temperature  degrees  lower  - 85 -  The their  operatives  working  themselves  conditions  testified  were  good.  operatives were "not only contented  to  Cooke  69  but proud".  experience much labour s t r i f e at his m i l l s . remained non-union u n t i l were s o l d .  meeting  strike,  meant  seven  immediate  spinners  Taylor  Commission  commented  were  Any  I t i s noteworthy that the m i l l s a f t e r which the  dismissal.  In  the  The  71  had  course  Ashworth  of  attended the  spinners  against long hours but continued  eleven  the  Union.  72  March  to  The  daily  of  only major s t r i k e  May  operatives  instead  1861  agreed  when to  the  take  ten  hours  Bolton  Masters  a wage r e d u c t i o n .  and 1880  than health conditions. Bolton  list  remain with  closed The  73  their  and  one  provision as an  75  day  took  no  to work  the  Bolton  mills  operatives  from unless  eventually  Most strikes i n the cotton  were concerned with reduction of wages rather  Although Ashworth paid ten per cent less than  his operatives on  him.  He wrote several pamphlets about the s t r i k e r s i n which  74  the whole appeared to be  the  price,  he argued that unions were the enemy; a man's interest was master's.  by  a  1836-37  that effected the Ashworth m i l l s was  gave i n , to the s a t i s f a c t i o n of Henry Ashworth. industry between 1830  decided  mills  that kept  part i n the Bolton s t r i k e i n 1849 hours  the  Certainly, Ashworth did not  word that his spinners  dismissed.  that  that  not have been "contentment" alone  the operatives from unionizing. union  Factory  Henry Ashworth died i n 1880  However, i t may  7 0  the  He  maintained "launch  f o r himself  into and  example of a "frugal  that with some family  "frugality"  respectable through  spinner" who  had  7 6  He  done w e l l .  and  thereby  pointed 7 7  to  the same as his  the operative could  business  life".  content  to  save make  himself  Wages, however,  - 86 were not the basis on which the Ashworth operatives themselves had t e s t i f i e d of  good  conditions;  they  told  the  Commission  that  the  Ashworths  concerned with " v e n t i l a t i o n , cleanliness and humane c o n d i t i o n s " .  One  may  speculate  Ashworth,  leader  League,  and  79  of  on what was the  a Quaker,  "Long valued  meant by  Timers",  78  "humane conditions".  leader  of  the  were  Henry  Anti-Corn  Law  the t r a d i t i o n s of V i c t o r i a n Society;  he  was a family man and encouraged large f a m i l i e s ; he b u i l t schools and Sunday schools  f o r the children of his employees.  been as a l t r u i s t i c as at f i r s t thought. ideal  enterprise,  people.  maintained  Initially,  81  Ashworth  f o r the c h i l d r e n .  Ashworth's  paid  more  motive  was  to the married  not have  profit,  male  not  operatives  could afford to keep t h e i r wives home to  In 1833, spinners  8 2  may  Karl Marx, commenting on Ashworth's  that  than to single males so that men care  These gestures  80  at the Ashworth m i l l s  received  up to 37s a week while the Bolton spinners received 28s5-3/4d at a time when the  Lancashire  weaving  process  average was and  25s8d.  However, with  83  i t s demand f o r female labour,  the automation of the Ashworth  combined his  weaving and spinning enterprises and gradually hired more women but dropped wages.  Nevertheless,  84  whatever  Ashworth's  motive  the condition  of h i s  workers was praised by a l l .  The healthy.  families 85  at  Ashworth's  mills  the  to  In 1833, Ashworth employed 500 operatives  248 were women, 61 of whom were m a r r i e d . under  seem  age  of  Bright stated that  nine  attended  " i n the schools  the  86  been  large  at h i s Egerton  and mill,  In that same year, 150 infants  village  of my  have  schools.  87  In  1844,  John  friends H. and E. Ashworth near  - 87 -  Bolton  there  Schools",  are 316 children but some of these  88  i n the day school  and 615 i n the Sunday  children  come  may  have  from  neighbouring  villages.  Lord Ashley and Lord John Manners v i s i t e d the schools i n 1844 and were impressed Ashley  with  observed  quickness  the well  being  alarmed  or  there  Lord  9 0  reports that  would  ... and remarked "how providential i t  number of those be  from  i n keeping  such them  i n h i s diary, "I confess  hot bed i n t e l l e c t . "  conclusions  who possessed  difficulties  John Manners wrote  by a l l t h i s  quantitative  Ashworth  (  of a boy named Lightbound  intellects  8 9  to him i n passing down the road upon the i n t e l l i g e n c e and  was that there was no great  station".  of the c h i l d r e n .  these  9 1  It i s difficult  figures  and  superior in  their  I'm rather to draw any  statements  but the  impression given was that there was no shortage of "sharp" healthy children at the Ashworth schools.  Rhodes Boyson found employees.  92  "no detailed  One s t a t i s t i c a l  figures of sickness" f o r Ashworth's  comparison  of i l l n e s s was recorded  by Cooke  Taylor who reported that 14% of Egerton Sick Club Members were sick i n one year  and only one member died as compared with 40% sickness and accident  rate  f o r a Sick Club  i n Stockport  i n the same y e a r .  needy among Ashworth's workers were supported fund".  94  In 1867, each  operative paid  A l l the sick and  9 3  by the "operatives provident  6d a week to the Sick  received 9s a week when sick, 2s on the death of a c h i l d , with of  a l l surplus funds  to contributors every  half y e a r .  9 5  Club and  distribution  Ashworth stated  that, i n the same year, operatives also resorted to savings banks or other  - 88 -  depositories by  the firm  Sick  Club  and some "even  bought c o t t a g e s " .  96  Medical  bills  i f a death resulted from i l l n e s s at the f i r m .  does not appear to have been overused.  9 7  were paid  The Edgerton  Only one-third as many  members as i n the Stockport club reported i l l n e s s .  William  Dodd, quoting  advised Ashley  Dr. Kay and Friendly Society  statistics,  had  that the operatives exposed to dusty environments f o r a long  period d i d not l i v e much beyond forty years.  Ashworth boasted  at one point  that he had one factory operative who had been employed i n his m i l l  f o r 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 m i l l s f o r "age or i n f i r m i t y " .  9 9  Ashworth reported his  to the Commission  m i l l s , 18 worked 11 years  that, of 52 spinners employed i n  (ever since the m i l l s 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 m i l l s and some opened t h e i r own  millsJ  00  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 o l d man i s at greater expense by reason of the diminished quantities; t h i s and not i l l - h e a l t h may sometimes occasion his discharge; but he frequently receives indulgences i n t h i s respect, on account of lengths of servitude or otherwise.101  - 89 -  The Ashworth brothers compared the health of t h e i r operatives with the health of other occupational groups:  There i s scarcely an outdoor labourer of f i f t y years of age who i s free from rheumatism and other chronic a f f l i c a t i o n s . Not so with the spinner who at age 50 years i s hale and healthy ...102  The Ashworths were naturally biased, but I have no available contrary evidence with which to compare t h e i r assertions.  The  Ashworths were proud  of  believed  unions  unnecessary  worker's  best interests.  which  conditions  were e n t i r e l y  care and  for their in fact  operatives. the  enemy  They of  the  Like Robert Owen, the Ashworths saw a future i n improve,  but  unlike Owen, they believed that this would develop from " s e l f - i n t e r e s t  and  private  and  their  enterprise".!  standards  03  As  obedience i n t h e i r v i l l a g e s .  of  people  magistrates,  would  the  continually  Ashworth  As in Robert Owen's New  had constables patrol the v i l l a g e s nightly.  brothers enforced  Lanark, the Ashworths  Dodd noted:  ... i f any unlucky person i s found, he i s taken care of for the night, and brought before his master (who i s a magistrate) i n the morning. His conduct a f t e r that i s narrowly watched and he must either reform, or go about his business.104  - 90 -  Dodd noted further:  ... owing to the v i g i l a n t eye o f ~ t h e masters, female workers i n Ashworth m i l l s conduct themselves in a more becoming manner than i s usual i n cotton f a c t o r i e s i n large towns ... The women, i n short, both married and single whether working in the m i l l s or staying at home, seem to be as much a f r a i d of the masters, as of t h e i r fathers and husbands J 0 5  It was  i r o n i c that the " i d e a l " environment Dodd was praising for having  produced healthy families with many healthy children also was produced  more than i t s share of i l l e g i t i m a t e  births.  shown to have  Fauchner  wrote some  years l a t e r that at New Eagley, which had a population of 2,000 in 1867;  ... notwithstanding the severe d i s c i p l i n e which reigns at Turton twenty-four i l l e g i t i m a t e births occurred at New Eagley i n three and a half years.106  Cooke Taylor  believed  but  Fauchner  i n s i s t e d these were the figures that Henry Ashworth had given him.  Ashworth  apparently had told Fauchner  Fauchner  must  have  that a l l but one of the "seducers" came from  outside the Turton establishments, so presumably faultedJ  0 7  children  born may  exaggerated,  his d i s c i p l i n e could not be  That there were more children and thus also more i l l e g i t i m a t e have been due  to the  less  contaminated  environment  at  Ashworth's m i l l s .  The factory reform committee registered no complaints, from v i s i t o r s or operatives a l i k e , 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 i n other m i l l s f o r the majority of t h e i r employees. were  no  complaints  either  miscarriages or barrenness. question, of course, how that  they  were  not  speak  It  spinners who  Nevertheless, Dodd, who  Although  stillbirths,  free were the individuals to t e s t i f y ?  to  dismissed  illnesses,  Ashworth operatives' testimony  free  to  owners, had  The  respiratory  particularly  reluctant  mill  of  him. took  1 0 8  to is  do  so  also  the true conditions,  Dodd implies appeared  significant  that  Ashworth  f o r the condition environmental,  the  they  knew of the c o n f l i c t i n g  only praise  raises  that  part i n the s t r i k e  in  There  only a few years  earlier.  views of Ashley  and most  of Ashworth's operatives.  labor-related,  and  moral,  in  Ashworth's m i l l s are not unambiguous, i t appears operatives working i n these m i l l s , were healthier than most others.  Despite the evidence gathered during the debates on the e v i l s of cotton dust inhalation  and  the virtues of ventilated m i l l s ,  brought i n very minor reforms.  The factory act of 1847  the l e g i s l a t o r s only limited the hours of  work f o r women and children to ten hours a day.  Legislation  men's hours  No formal recommendation  to ten was  not passed  was made regarding dust control  until  1874J  at t h i s time.  0 9  reducing the  Improvements of this  nature  were l e f t e n t i r e l y to free enterprise.  Association between cotton dust and i l l reports and the press.  health continued to be noted in  In 1863, an a r t i c l e appeared i n Lancet:  The f i r s t process the raw cotton undergoes i s the mixing of one staple with another. Much d i r t and dust i s disengaged i n t h i s operation. The respiration i s 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, i s seen to consist of very fine short f i b r e s of cotton in a i r 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 v e n t i l a t i n g chimneys of t i n or wood, which takes o f f more e f f e c t u a l l y 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 f i b r e s of cotton set afloat i n these rooms i s 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 f l o a t i n g f i b r e s , modified of course, very much by a wet or dry day. The strippers, grinders and cardroom hands are engaged i n 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 l i v e s 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 t h e i r average ages.110  All parts Lancet  these points had been reported to Ashley's  of  the  industrial  appeared.  At  a  world,  similar  reports  hearing  in 1845  for a  as  investigators. were published  ten-hour  day  In other in  the  in U.S.,  an  operative noted:  The working time was too long; the meal time was too short. The a i r i n 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 s i x g i r l s stayed away from work because of i l l n e s s ; as many as 30 had been known to remain at home on one day for that reason. In all seasons flying lint was a source of great discomfort.Ill  - 93 -  In  the same year,  investigators  in a  Belgian  factory  noted  pulmonary affectations among cardroom workers was most prevalent, phithisis  and l a r y n g i t i s .  them  most  on Mondays  1851  noted  that  - tuberculosis. was  a  Operatives  and T u e s d a y s .  large  number  particularly  present  112  that dust  A report  suffered  as  a  i n the a i r of cardrooms;  1860's saw some developments i n B r i t i s h  result  of Dr. Headlam  removal  of harmful  dusts  enforce the r e g u l a t i o n .  In 1872,  and that  Greenhow's  and within  chronic  1 1 4  reports  indicating  that  three years  partly  dust i n  The 1864 Factory Act  i t was extended  f o r the to a l l  However, the act did not provide for any means to 1 1 5  an i n v e s t i g a t i o n into the health hazards i n cotton manufacture  undertaken  presented  pulmonary  the requirement f o r the provision of exhaust v e n t i l a t i o n  factories and workshops.  was  from  factory l e g i s l a t i o n  f a c t o r i e s was responsible f o r industrial lung disease. included  i n Russia i n  factory, i t was noted i n 1872 that dust  pneumonia, emphysema, asthma and blennorrhea were p r e v a l e n t .  The  as were  inconvenienced  published  of operatives  In a Switzerland  1 1 3  complained  that  by  to both  Dr. Buchanan  and h i s committee.  Houses of Parliament  cotton dust as a major health hazard  in 1884.  116  Their The team  report  was  identified  i n cotton manufacturing f o r both women  and men, but more problematic f o r women.  - 94 The  report does not state how  many m i l l s the investigators v i s i t e d but  they v i s i t e d both the "satanic" type and the " i d e a l " type. mills  In general, the  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  i n most  spinning process, but when v e n t i l a t i o n was  mills  absent  appeared  even the  to  be  the  spinning rooms  were described as having a thin layer of dust s e t t l i n g on e v e r y t h i n g .  117  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  difficult  i f not  impossible  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 i s not l i k e a thread that has been passed through the gassing process* and rendered perfectly smooth. There i s considerable amount of nap which, in spite of s i z e , stares or sets up i n cold dry air. Added to t h i s the rapid action of the shuttle passing to and f r o from 180 to 220 times a minute, t r i t u r a t e s the yarn, which i s at the same time shaken up and down by the action of the "healds" and s i m i l a r l y chafed lengthwise by the motion of the f i v e comb "reed" d r i v i n g home each pick of weft. Even i n the primitive days ... power looms must have generated a considerable amount of d u s t . (p. 6) 1 1 9  to  - 95 The  investigation team were most concerned with  carding  rooms.  and  the  how  They went into much detail  dust was  generated.  describing the  B a s i c a l l y , carding  separate the long cotton f i b r e s from the short. to be ground and  cleaned  part of the process  periodically  is called  the dust hazard in the carding  or "combing" machines  The teeth of the cards have  (up to f i v e times per day)  stripping and  process  grinding.  The  team  and  this  specified  that:  Part of the dust i s caused by the ordinary action of the revolving c y l i n d e r and r o l l e r of the carding engine upon the cotton which passes through them ... By f a r the largest part i s caused by the two operations, stripping and grinding ... The number of carding engines i n the cardroom of an ordinary m i l l i s considerable, varying from three to four i n very small m i l l s to more than a hundred in the largest.120  The  following  description of  the  atmosphere  i n unventilated  carding  rooms i s reminiscent of Dodd's reports to Ashley some t h i r t y years e a r l i e r :  The operation of the carding machines f i l l the a i r of the rooms with fine l i g h t fibrous dust; the heavier inorganic dust having been almost e n t i r e l y beaten and s i f t e d out by the w i l l owing machines. The p a r t i c l e s which throng the a i r of the card-room consist mainly of very minute f i b r e s , varying i n length from a l i n e to a very minute f r a c t i o n of it. In the m i l l s where the cotton i s of a very low quality there i s in addition to this fine dust much ' f l y i n g ' , ' f l u f f or 'flue', consisting of longer fibres The dust given out i n t h i s operation i s universally admitted by employers as well as workmen to be injurious to health. 121  - 96  The more  committee noted that  than  the  quantity"  gathered from the chemical  analysis.  separated  matter  categories.! suspected  that  "ingredients had to  which  was  the  "quality of the  injurious  to  The into our  the  r e s u l t s , found soluble purpose,  dust was  not  it  the  merely  of  organic  noteworthy  irritating  Dupre for  the  report,  and  inorganic  the  committee  that  but  were  that  it  contained  ingredients  been added to the cotton as part of the s i z i n g process and  were unable  which of the  human physiology. officers  describing  inhalation.  They noted  to Dr.  appendix  insoluble, is  sent  Samples  that some of the  say  noxious to health".  and  in  dust as much or  health.  d i f f e r e n t rooms of the m i l l s and  For  22  i t was  -  ingredients were problematic  They were however able symptoms  of  and  to provide  i l l health  which  how  they acted  reports they  upon  from medical  related  An extract from one medical report states:  In those who are unaccustomed to i t (the dust) i t causes continuous t i c k l i n g i n he throat, which i n c i t e s 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 t h i s occupation from rural d i s t r i c t s abandon i t , even though they may be only sufferers from constant catarrh without other worse symptoms. If however, they persevere i n t h i s occupation, more important symptoms supervene, sometimes soon; often a f t e r a year of work such as cough with pectoral pain, marked anemia, obstinate d e b i l i t y and loss of appetite. White v i s c i d sputa i s now expectorated with d i f f i c u l t y , and shows under the microscope cotton f i b r e s 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 t h e i r whole l i f e long, and die at a comparatively advanced age [ s i c ] of some intercurrent disease. So f a r as we have observed, they never remain e n t i r e l y free from cough or in perfect health; although of course t h i s may be  to  dust  - 97 -  the case with individuals of perfectly sound chests who observe requisite precautions. Sickly people, especially those l i a b l e to pulmonary affections do not bear up long. The most unfavourable cases are usually found amongst women ... I t i s especially i n connection with certain processes of cotton manufacture that these e v i l s a r i s e ; scutching, willowing and, above a l l , carding.123  Unfortunately  f o r us, the report  "unfavourable" cases were found  d i d not c l a r i f y  why  the most  amongst women, as both men and women were  employed in carding.  But another medical o f f i c e r reported to the team:  As a medical man, I am frequently consulted by both sexes, and especially by young females of the operative c l a s s , compelled by the force of circumstances to work i n the factories: they appear to suffer a great deal from derangement of the digestive and respiratory organs which I attribute i n great measure to the inhalation of noxious p a r t i c l e s f l o a t i n g i n 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 i n the carding rooms were "pale and worn i n appearance."^  The  team  suggested  5  that  the health  hazard  of dust  could  be "very  greatly mitigated by a system of f l u e s , connected with exhausting fans":  One very elaborate example of t h i s 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 i n carding rooms, so f a r from being universal or generally employed i s on the contrary quite exceptional. Even of those m i l l s which were pointed out to us as the best, the large majority were without them. Nor did we f i n d t h e i r absence often compensated by resort to natural ventilation. In the greater numbers of cardrooms v i s i t e d by us the atmosphere was not only dusty, but i t was hot, stuffy and oppressive.127  The  committee noted that i n those m i l l s that had dust  appearance  of the work  people was  free rooms the  "healthier and more vigorous"  than of  those working i n dusty rooms.128  The  committee's  recommendations included  summation  f o r action  i n the appendix  on  of  i t s findings  the  government's  of the report were  contained part.  not very  no  definitive  The  statistics  informative.  committee explained why t h i s 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 f a r as the female population was concerned no satisfactory conclusion could be drawn because i n a large proportion of cases, the death c e r t i f i c a t e s of married women f a i l e d to state the nature of t h e i r employment.129  The  - 99 -  The before  implication i s that the women had l e f t t h e i r employment some time  t h e i r death and therefore  with their job. 1874  down  The factory l e g i s l a t i o n that was enacted during the period  to the end of the century  limitation by  the death could not readily be associated  was not p a r t i c u l a r l y  responsive.  A further  of hours to 56-1/2 a week was secured i n 1874 and t h i s was cut another  legislation  hour  i n 1901.  relate to the fencing  when i n motion, and conditions  Other  important  features  of  factory  of dangerous machinery and i t s cleaning  of health  involving the amount of steaming  allowed which was regulated by the Cotton Cloth Factories Act of 1 8 8 9 .  The  impression  130  one gets from the l i t e r a t u r e on factory l e g i s l a t i o n i s  that whether government should intervene i n 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 i n 1891:  These no doubt are small beginnings. But precisely i n 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. I t i s a not unlikely forecast that something further w i l l be done i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n , and that i t w i l l 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  that the next move w i l l cautions:  i s such  legislation  be to c u r t a i l  to c e a s e ? " !  32  and suggests  the working day to eight hours.  He  - 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 i n ultimate analysis to no hours at a l l . These are some of the doubts that must be resolved i n the minds of reasonable men before a universal compulsory law of t h i s character can be approved.133  It was  not that the government was  unaware of the health hazards in the  cotton m i l l s , but i t seemed immobilized  by c o n f l i c t i n g views on the purpose  of  legislation  and  the  proper  role  of  government  as  it  relates  to  "productivity".  In  other  countries  debated issue. cotton an  health  well,  health  vs.  productivity  In Russia, Dr. Eisman noted in 1887  f a c t o r i e s was  Italian  as  "harmful  1906  studyl  problems  involved  cotton f a c t o r i e s . 1  to growth and  involving  3 4  and  180  and  Blackburn employed  cotton in  suffering noted  the  described workers:  the  from an  undertook  mills.  women emphasized  uncontrolled  He  to  In 1908,  investigate  visited  31  complaints  m i l l s and  preparatory  processes  and  found  asthmatic  condition  due  to  progressive the  Dr. P i e r o t t i  dust  in  in the the  i t s f a c t - f i n d i n g on the impact of  factory work on the health of the operatives. Dr. C o l l i s  a  3 5  In England, the government continued  period,  620  attributed them to  be  that prolonged work in  development".  men  seemed to  symptoms  effect of  a  of  symptoms  disease  near the end of  believed  to  our  i l l health  in  examined 126 73.8%  prolonged be  operatives  complaining  inhalation of with  of  dust.  of  Collis  exposure  specific  to  or  and  cotton  - 101 -  The course of the trouble caused i s 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 i s worse the day he comes back. Once Monday i s over he i s a l r i g h t for the week ... The man usually gets 'tight' or 'fast' i n the chest, and he finds d i f f i c u l t y i n 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 e f f e c t i v e , until the only action of t h i s great respiratory muscle i s to f i x the lower r i b ; 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 i s l i t t l e or no sputum produced, and what l i t t l e there i s , i s expectorated with d i f f i c u l t y . I t i s not infrequently stained with blood ...136  Col l i s suggested had  seen  in  disappear"  "one"  l o c a l i z e d exhaust v e n t i l a t i o n be enforced, such as mill,  and  i f t h i s were done. 1  projected 3 7  m i l l s to have ventilatory systems.!  Coll i s described why  He  that  the  "disease  stated that i t was  would  he  a l l but  very uncommon for  38  some departments were more dusty and therefore put  operatives at r i s k :  The cotton i s 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 i s taken to the cardroom and placed on the carding machines. These machines draw the cotton staple out into l i n e , 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 i s known as stripping.  - 102 -  Stripping i s a dusty process; i t i s done by a fast revolving brush which removes the s t r i p of cotton from the wire comb of the c y l i n d e r of the card ... The dust as i t i s brushed out i s thrown i n the a i r ; ... the worse the cotton, e.g. Coarse American, the greater the dust present ... the heaviest part of t h i s dust f a l l s back on the machine and about the room; the l i g h t e r p a r t i c l e s f l o a t i n the a i r f o r a long time making the a i r of a cardroom v i s i b l y dusty ... A l l strippers and grinders are bothered with chest problems; an ordinary grinder i s done at 50 because of his lungs being damaged by dust ... Permanent removal of the dust i s then i n every way advantageous. The problem has already been tackled and with some success by exhaust v e n t i l a t i o n ... There i s no doubt that i f t h i s p r i n c i p l e of v e n t i l a t i o n i s carried out, i n a l l the m i l l s the grinders' and strippers' asthma w i l l cease to e x i s t ...139  C o l l i s noted that most of the workers i n cardrooms were women but chose to  base h i s study  tended  subjects  to remain at a job longer  concerned with the  on male  problem  long-term e f f e c t s .  could  Perhaps  this  was because men  than d i d women and he was p a r t i c u l a r l y He pointed  not be measured  symptoms of i l l n e s s  only.  out that the seriousness of  by examining  were of a chronic  rather  mortality  than acute  tables nature.1  point he was making was that many operatives died of cotton-induced after  they  had l e f t  the trade  necessarily associate these  and therefore mortality  deaths with  the cotton  because 40  The  problems  tables would not  industry.  He cautioned  that i f the dust were not removed at source i t could cause problems in other departments as w e l l , since cotton mi 11.  particles  would be airborne  through the  - 103 -  Coll i s  did  dust-induced  not  add  problems.  very  He  much  what  was  nevertheless confirmed  Buchanan and others had observed. here:  to  already  what Kay,  known  about  Thackrah, Greg,  Several major points deserve  reiterating  f i r s t l y , airborne cotton dust causes serious problems for a l l cotton  workers where m i l l s length  of  time  during  produced prolonged associated  are  with  not  equipped with  which  operatives  symptoms of i l l n e s s .  the  mill's  polluted  exhaust were  systems; secondly,  exposed  Various  to  the  airborne  dust  reproductive problems were  environment,  as  were  digestive  and  respiratory disturbances.  It  is  difficult  nineteenth-century with  to  draw  fertility  groupings  where  variable  of  quantitative  levels proper  with  Clearly, more evidence cotton  controls can  ventilation.  This,  dust be  of  to consult original manuscripts family  reconstitution.  utilized  of  is  to  l i n k cotton  i s needed  dust  connecting comparative  isolate  the  easy  task;  no  these  crucial census  information and thus one would have  and v i t a l  This,  from  inhalation across  course,  s t a t i s t i c s do not provide such s p e c i f i c  to  conclusions  investigations which would d e f i n i t i v e l y  involuntary i n f e r t i l i t y .  actual  any  r e g i s t r a t i o n material with a view  course,  i s beyond  the  scope of  this  paper, even assuming one could find ideal comparative units.  Even in the twentieth century i t i s d i f f i c u l t to obtain d i r e c t evidence of  chemical  impact  on  fertility.  Of  major  relevance  in  assessing  relationships between occupational exposures and reproductive outcome i s the ability  to c l e a r l y  outcome or e f f e c t .  define both  the  amount of exposure and  the  particular  - 104 -  "Outcomes" are varied and complex: effect  an  occupational  writes  L.E. Sever,  influences  can  exposure can  Ph.D.,  be  in  manifest  decline  in libido,  fertility  menstrual  "In  reproductive the  or  fertility  amenorrhea.  tubes.  as decreased  such as the cervical  Male f e r t i l i t y  mucous  effects include a  or absent sperm production.  Male  might also be affected by damage to the sperm-collecting network.  Morphologic abnormalities of sperm, e f f e c t s on sperm m o t i l i t y and abnormalities of sperm need to be  Occupational embryotoxin.  It  "exposures" is  thought  considered.  may that  affect  development proceeding  the  embryo  damage during  normally.  enzymatic  1,141  development results e i t h e r i n death of the c e l l with  system,"  female,  irregularities  system physiology  fallopian  as well  study.  the  reproductive  could be adversely affected by damage to the  changes i n reproductive  layer, or damage to the  most fundamental  have i s on  1981  as  A d d i t i o n a l l y , female f e r t i l i t y ova,  a  "The  the  or  first  or one  that  fetus two  as  an  weeks  of  i s repaired,  Thus an embryotoxic e f f e c t early  142  in development could r e s u l t i n an unrecognized  spontaneous abortion.  There are many problems in obtaining information on exposures since i t is  seldom the case that a worker i s exposed to only  hazardous substance. individual study, female  143  Secondly, i t i s d i f f i c u l t  received  and  at what point  Rachootin  and  01 sen  cotton  weaving  and  information on the chemical  found  spinning content  a single potentially  to e s t a b l i s h what dosage an  i t became hazardous. an  association of  occupations.  They  In  a  recent  subfecundity do  not  with  provide  of agents to which the t e x t i l e workers  105 -  were exposed or how do t e l l  large or frequent a dosage they may  have received. They  us that the subjects were in t h e i r jobs f o r a year p r i o r and up to  p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the study.  In  a case-control study based  on data c o l l e c t e d from case-couples  were examined or treated f o r a problem Hospital  and from control  hospital  during  female  textile  the  couples who  period  operatives  1977-79,  of i n f e r t i l i t y  who  at Odense University  had healthy children born at the same the  experienced  a  researchers sixfold  idiopathic i n f e r t i l i t y compared with the control  concluded  increase  groupJ  4 4  in  that  the  risk  of  - 106 TABLE VI  FEMALE OCCUPATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASED RISK OF IDIOPATHIC INFERTILITY, INFERTILITY WITH EVIDENCE '  OF HORMONAL DISTURBANCE OR DELAYED CONCEPTION  Idiopathic Infertility Occupation Joiners, cabinetmakers Spinners Weavers Machine knitters Dry cleaners Electricians Tanners T i r e vulcanization workers Typesetters Debt c o l l e c t o r s Pharmacy assistants Auditors, accountants, cashiers Shipyard and storehouse workers Fitters Production managers Crane operators Rope, net and sailmakers Shoemakers Weiders Restaurant administrators P l a s t i c industry workers Office workers Seamstresses Anatomist, genetists Sales clerks Waitresses Steel production workers Cutters ( f a b r i c s , leather) Photographers  A*  B**  X X X  X X X  Hormonal Disturbance  X X X X X X X X X X X  X X  X X X X  X X X X X X  X X X X X X X X X  admission.  ** B indicates longest held occupation p r i o r to hospital admission. Rachootin and 01 sen, p. 401  B  B  * A indicates occupation in the year prior to hospital  Source:  Delayed Conception  - 107 -  Data was cases. the  The  work  c o l l e c t e d by questionnaire from 3,728 control couples and questionnaire was  histories  of  occupational exposures. the year prior time.  The  designed  the  women  primarily  and  their  to obtain information on husbands  and  on  specific  Couples were asked to i d e n t i f y both the job held i n  to hospital  admission  questionnaire also  and  listed  the longest held job up to that  15  specific  chemicals  and  physical  agents and asked whether the subjects had been exposed to any of them. females occupied i n spinning and weaving who reported exposure to t e x t i l e only, included:  dyes from  anesthetic gases;  antihurst  chemicals; agents;  lead;  the l i s t which, i n addition to dyes  i n s e c t i c i d e s ; weed k i l l e r s ;  and  heat  mercury; and  study i s not detailed enough. the chemicals found content of chemicals  The  experienced delayed conception  degreasers;  lacquer, paint or glue; organic solvents; cutting or l u b r i c a t i n g o i l s ; cleaning  927  asbestos;  noise.  hairspray  Obviously,  or  f o r our  hair  purposes,  dry dyes; the  Rachootin and 01 sen did not include most of  in cotton dust nor do they provide an analysis of the found  in t e x t i l e  dyes.  Consequently,  the study  does  not provide us with s p e c i f i c chemicals that might have been causally related to  idiopathic  infertility.  Moreover,  we  are  not  advised  whether  subjects were exposed to airborne substances such as cotton dust. and 01 sen's intention was further analysis.  to i s o l a t e  occupations  the  Rachootin  as a preliminary step to  They state in the "Discussion":  This study was designed to test and generate hypothesis regarding possible occupational etiologies of infertility. I t was recognized from the beginning that t h i s 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 to  research.  I t becomes more  i s indeed one of the most d i f f i c u l t difficult  when one attempts  areas  to e s t a b l i s h  ;  exposures, outcomes, cases, and controls h i s t o r i c a l l y .  What we have gleaned all,  literary  cotton  dust,  from the nineteenth-century  accounts of weavers and carders believed  to contain  evidence  i s , f i r s t of  exposed to large dosages of  noxious ingredients injurious to health.  Secondly, the outcomes appear to be idiopathic and are described as symptoms of i l 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 d i f f e r or are much less problematic  f o r those persons not '  exposed to large dosages of cotton dust than f o r 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 c e r t a i n l y seems to have had  - 109 some impact on t h e i r reproductive systems. to have had l e s s exposure to dust,  The spinners, mostly males, seem  and t h e i r wives even l e s s , since most  l e f t the factory upon marriage.  Although  our nineteenth-century  evidence  the symptoms described are consistent with medical  i s largely impressionistic,  the symptoms that more advanced  knowledge now recognizes i n persons s u f f e r i n g from various levels of  } exposure to ingredients i n cotton dust.  It would  seem that  pregnant women, because of t h e i r hyperventilating  during pregnancy would have inhaled larger dosages of cotton dust than did other operatives. by  dust  The increase i n maternal consumption of a i r contaminated  i s 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 i s more susceptible to toxic agents "such as cotton dust" which reduces the number of c i r c u l a t i n g red blood c e l l s and interferes with the oxygen uptake of the hemoglobin, thus causing toxic chemicals contained and consequently hypothesis. unrecognized  anemia.I  47  With  the increased  intake of  i n the cotton dust, an increase i n damaged fetuses  an increase i n spontaneous abortion i s a highly plausible  An embryotoxic  effect  early  i n development  could  result i n  wastage or sometimes have been mistaken as a heavy or i r r e g u l a r  menstrual p e r i o d . ^  4 8  n  -  The  symptoms  recognized,  of  i f only  illness  that  o  -  related  they  to  bronchial  were more obvious.  contractions  The acute  were  stage, the  "Monday f e e l i n g " , and the chronic stage had been recognized, described many times and eventually named "byssinosis".  But, i n a 1981 study, Dr. Fowler  and  dust  h i s associates  revealed  that  cotton  could  i r r i t a n t and cause the release of extremely potent prostaglandins  E  and  F .  1 4 9  2  Fowler  found  that  act as a mechanical  hormone-like  substances,  prostaglandin  production  by the lung tissue increased with increasing concentrations of cotton He pointed may  out that the prostaglandins  account  Importantly, as  well,  f o r the  symptoms  of  bronchoconstrictors and the  "Monday  feeling".  f o r our study, prostaglandins act on the uterine smooth muscle  causing  obstetrics  predominant  are potent  dust.  i t to contract,  f o r inducing  labour  and have  and  been  abortion  used  synthetically  f o r the past  in  ten years.  Synthetic prostaglandins might have been given to more patients had they not had  two disadvantages:  a  high  r e l a t i v e l y unpredictable action. many  different  tried.  who  reported  of unpleasant  and d i f f e r e n t  dosages  problems, have been  of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the B r i t i s h  successful termination  were given  side-effects and  In an attempt to overcome these  of administration  In 1973, the Journal  Commonwealth patients  routes  incidence  of pregnancy  i n 18 out of 20  a single 100 pg. dose of the 15-methyl  (prostaglandin) by intra-amniotic i n j e c t i o n .  2  drug  Side-effects were minimal, but  an attempt to reduce the induction-abortion interval doubling the dose was unsuccessful.  E  from 16 to 5 hours by  The increased dose increased "the risk  of cardiovascular or respiratory s i d e - e f f e c t s " J  5 0  - Ill -  In addition to causing Dr. Harper  and  his  gastrointestinal symptoms, also dust  inhalation.  mentioned  associates  smooth often  that  1 5 1  bronchial and uterine smooth muscle contraction,  muscle  to  the  It w i l l  remembered  be  female  of  patients who that  if  to  complained  We  do  not  to  contract  know how  disorder  literature  that Dr. Buchanan of  to dust inhalation.  muscle  bowel  cause  complaints  were  related  smooth muscle, they had  cause  the  uterine  to  gastrointestinal  It i s s i g n i f i c a n t f o r  than  many of  are  necessary for  are  required  prostaglandin  to  for  Dr. Buchanan's women  acting  more prostaglandins  smooth muscle  with  specifically  complained of stomach disorders were pregnant, but we  their  to  leading  nineteenth-century  operatives  smooth  abortion.  gastrointestinal required  prostaglandins  larger doses of synthetic prostaglandins  gastrointestinal  induction  contract,  i n the  many  study that  that  associated  problems which he f e l t were due our  found  contract  do know on  the  released  than  sufficiently  to  cause spontaneous abortion.  It w i l l  be r e c a l l e d that many of the medical o f f i c e r s who  t e s t i f i e d at  the Ashley investigations i n the 1830's and 1840's were concerned that women were menstruating at a very young age and remaining barren. this  very  private  concern unless been?  and  personal  female  i t were also a public problem.  There was  as yet  no  would  generally  tend  to  speculate  unproductive  that  young  would  become a  how  public  What could the problem have  awareness of a national  that did not become a public problem t i l l I  experience  One wonders  declining b i r t h  the l a s t quarter women were  of the  absent  from  because of gastrointestinal contractions  contractions related to an abundance of prostaglandin  release.  or  rate;  century. work  or  uterine  - 112 The  "barrenness"  chemicals  of  the  operatives  i n cotton dust impinging  on  may  well  have  resulted  from  the male reproductive system.  This  p o s s i b i l i t y would not have been investigated i n the nineteenth century. with small very  few  families were suspected tests  production  have  or  chemicals.  been  pregnancy  Illuminating are  I3t  of resorting to onanism, but even today  conducted outcome  Men  on in  the  the  effect  wives  of  recent  of men  tests  on  chemicals exposed the  on  sperm  to  toxic  anti-fertility  drug gossypol.  Clinical  trials  of  gossypol,  a phenolic compound  stem and roots of the cotton plant, began in 1972 4,000 men was  found  to  be  99.89  percent  effective  greatest i n h i b i t i v e e f f e c t was  sperm and  noted  in China.  in the  seed,  Among the  first  receiving the drug f o r periods from six months to four years, i t  Gossypol's in  found  that  testes c e l l s only  a  small  and  an  anti-fertility  agent.  on an enzyme, which i s found only  i s necessary  amount of  as  f o r sperm production.  gossypol  was  required  for  It  effective  f e r t i l i t y control and no toxic side e f f e c t s were observed at t h i s l e v e l . higher doses than shown  to  cause  the amount required f o r f e r t i l i t y  diarrhea, malnutrition and  pulmonary  was  c o n t r o l , gossypol congestion.^  59  At was Male  operatives exposed to large dosages of cotton dust in the nineteenth century were often described as pale, s i c k l y , with pulmonary congestion and loss of appetite. cotton  Spinners  dust,  and  other  particularly  described i n t h i s way.  operatives who  i f they  worked  In other words, men  in who  were  exposed  ventilated  mills  were  less not  showed the above symptoms  from inhaling cotton dust would have inhaled more gossypol to cause a slowdown of sperm m o t i l i t y .  to much  than  sufficient  - 113 The  clinical  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 i n part why more healthy babies were  born to cotton operatives during the cotton famine than i n other years.  We r e a l l y have no hard d e f i n i t i v e evidence from the nineteenth and only limited  evidence  involuntary impact  from  infertility.  the twentieth  century  linking  cotton  dust  with  Even i f we do not know the precise quantitative  on spontaneous abortion and delayed conception, a t least some impact  appears very plausible indeed, given the evidence and sources available.  The end  low f e r t i l i t y of factory operatives continued  of our period.  In addition, concern  infants perishing within t h e i r f i r s t year that  the factory women were  no more  to be noted  mounted over the large number of i n Lancashire.  "immoral"  than  i n the medical  journal  Public  Health  1 5 5  Despite  other  women, the notion persisted that the women were to blame. writing  to the  evidence  working-class  Dr. Harold Kerr,  at the turn  of the  century, was representative of the view that women i n the factory towns were themselves to blame f o r the t e r r i b l e wastage of infant l i f e :  The t e r r i b l y heavy death rate among children i n the towns i s of course due to a large extent to the unhealthiness of t h e i r surroundings but that i s by no means the major cause. The f a c t that i s of primary importance i s maternal mismanagement ... every v i s i t o r i n the home of the working class knows only too well the hopeless ignorance of the majority of the mothers i n everything connected with the rearing of healthy offspring. 56 1  - 114 -  Despite widespread recognition that serious physiological related  to  cotton  dust  inhalation were d e b i l i t a t i n g  c l a s s , the English government enforced more  than  government  a  century  looked  upon  concessions to them. wages and  had  passed  the  complications  cotton  operative  no standards on the mill owners u n t i l since  industrialists  Ashley's  as  pioneers  I t attempted to keep Poor Law  avoided r e s t r i c t i v e l e g i s l a t i o n .  investigations. and  made  The  numerous  taxes down, condoned low  Only gradually did dust control  become obligatory.  However, the bronchial  gradual  eradication of the  symptoms of acute or  problems from m i l l s by c o n t r o l l i n g the  level  not necessarily ensure the eradication of reproductive  of cotton dust does impairment.  dosages of dust, too l i t t l e to create symptoms of byssinosis may have adverse e f f e c t on the reproductive  system.  continue to  l e v e l s of dust than are  operatives.  Concern over the diminishing birth rate among factory workers to  spark  continued time.  Reduced  Moreover, pregnant female  operatives are s e n s i t i v e to d i f f e r e n t compounds and other  chronic  investigations to  I t was  operatives  emphasize  well the  into  moral  the  rather  reasoned that the moral  twentieth than the  century health  and issues  continued reformers f o r some  issues were a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of  the  themselves, the health issues might demand more active government  intervention than was  desired by those in control of  production.  - 115 -  was  The importance of health to working women, especially  pregnant women,  rarely  alarmed  declining enquire  taken  family of  distinctively  the  into  consideration  by those  size of the operatives. operatives  small  families.  neglected area of research.  themselves  Very how  In the next  who were little they  at the  e f f o r t was made to  accounted  chapter,  we  for their  address  this  - 116 -  NOTES TO CHAPTER IV 1.  William Blake, Milton, 1810, i n The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 1978, p. 824. ~~  2.  " F e r t i l i t y of Marriage 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 i n the Manufacturing D i s t r i c t s of Lancashire, 1842, t h i r d e d i t i o n , 1968, p v i i i .  6.  Ibid., v i i .  7.  Jacqueline K. Corn, "Byssinosis - An H i s t o r i c a l 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 i n Factories, Dr. Mitchell's Report", B.P.P. 1834, XIX, p. 38, c i t e d i n Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers i n Victorian Industry, 1958, p. 10.  Report",  Census of England  and Wales, 1911,  10.  W. Cooke Taylor, Op. c i t . , p. 243.  11.  Ibid., p. 246.  12.  William Dodd, The Factory System I l l u s t r a t e d , 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 C i v i c States and Habits of Living on Health and Longevity and "Suggestions f o r Removal of Many Agents which Produce Disease, and Shorten the Duration of L i f e , 1832, p. 14/, c i t e d i n 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 i n 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.), E v i l s 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.  C A . 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 p. 81.  35.  Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers i n Victorian Industry, 1958, p. 35.  36.  The Parliamentary Evidence associates promiscuity with  37.  Parliamentary Evidence, 1837, p. 171.  38.  Ibid. > P-  39.  Loc. c i t .  40.  Loc. c i t .  41.  Loc. c i t .  Control  i n Nineteenth  Century  England,  1978,  published by Dr. Charles Wing frequently barrenness.  - 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 i n the Manufacturing Lanncashire, 1842, p. zi.  51.  Dodd, The Factory System I l l u s t r a t e d , 1842, pp. 41-48.  52.  Rhodes Boyson, The Ashworth Cotton Enterprise 1818-1880, 1970, p. 93.  53.  B.P.P. 1840, xi 372 c i t e d i n 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, c i t e d in Ibid., p. 22.  66.  W. Cooke Taylor, Notes on a Tour i n the Manufacturing Lancashire, 1841, p. Zb. :  D i s t r i c t s of  D i s t r i c t s of  - 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, C a p i t a l , 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, Op. c i t . , p. 129.  89.  Boyson, Op. c i t . , p. 131.  90.  Ibid., p. 132.  Ixxiii,  1142,  15 March  1844,  cited  in Boyson,  - 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 i l l u s t r a t e d , 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 i l l u s t r a t e d , p.  109.  Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers i n Victorian Industry, p. 31.  110.  Cited i n Corn, "Byssinosis - An H i s t o r i c a l Perspective", Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1981, pp. 336-337.  111.  Ibid., p. 336.  112.  Mareska and Heymand, Belgium 1845, c i t e d i n Corn, "Byssinosis - An H i s t o r i c a l Perspective", Table I I , American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2, 1981, p. 338.  113.  Bredow, Russia 1851, c i t e d i n , Loc. c i t .  114.  Schuler, Switzerland, 1872, i n Loc. c i t .  .  American  - 121 -  115.  W.R. Lee, "Occupational Medicine", Medicine and Science i n the 1860's, 1968, p. 173.  116.  Buchanan, "Report on certain s i z i n g processes used in Todmorden", Report on the E f f e c t of Heavy Sizing i n Cotton Wearing upon the Health ot the Uperatives tmpioyeo, London, 1884, tc. J B b i j , p. '.  117.  Ibid., p. 7.  118.  Ibid., p. 5.  119.  Ibid., p. 6.  120.  Ibid., p. 7.  121.  Loc c i t .  122.  "Appendix I I I " , 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  130.  R.W.  131.  Ibid., pp. 456,  132.  Ibid., p.  133.  Ibid., p. 459.  134.  Eisman, Russia 1887, Medicine, p. 338.  135.  P i e r o t t i , Italy 1906,  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 f o r 1908, pp. 2O3-20F: "  137.  Ibid., p. 205.  Inquiry", Appendix I, Ibid., p. 13.  Cooke Taylor, The Modern Factory System, London, 1891, p. 453. 457.  457.  cited  i n Corn, American Journal  of  Industrial  Ibid., p. 338.  - 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., L i e . Med., "The Risk of I n f e r t i l i t y and Delayed Conception Associated with Exposures i n 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,  149.  Fowler, Z i p r i n , E l i s s a l d e , Greenblatt, "The etiology of byssinosis possible role of prostaglandin FgA synthesis by alveolar macrophages", American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 1981, p. 30.  150.  "Prostaglandins i n Obstetrics", 1981, Vol. 282, p. 418.  151.  Harper, Rodwell, Mayes, "Metabolism of Lipids", 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 for Males", Chinese Medical Journal, November 1978, p. 427.  153.  A.D. Peyster, Y.Y. Wang, "Gossypol-proposed contraceptive f o r men passes the Ames t e s t " , New England Journal of Medicine, 1979, pp. 275-6.  154.  National Coordinating Group, Op. c i t . , p. 427.  155.  Dr. Harold Kerr, c i t e d i n Dyos, "Working Class Mothers and Infant Mortality i n England 1895-1914", Journal of Social History, 1978, p. 257.  156.  Loc. c i t .  1981, p. x i .  British  Medical  Journal,  February  Review  of  Agent  - 123 -  CHAPTER V WORKING WOMEN'S CONCEPTIONS AND PERCEPTIONS  S t i l l births were j u s t 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  occupational years  operatives,  neither  before  that  of other  occupational  i n the 1870's  groups  of mechanical  Contemporary and current researchers  to  richest  nor  and long  contraceptive  theorized that even  abstain from intercourse, they  abortifacients.  lower  3  rate  the evidence  nineteenth  had a "second l i n e  before  century,  and exercised the choice i n the second  shows  that  particularly  half  although  of defense"  among  of the nineteenth loss  the operatives  2  t h e i r husbands i n folk  choice i n  in sufficient  infant  the  techniques.  The implication was that women had the f i n a l  family size  the b i r t h  believe  of  i f working women  not have easy access to contraceptives nor could convince  determining  poorest  groups, had been diminishing i n size steadily a t least twenty  popularization  did  the  numbers to century.  was high working  I  i n the  i n cotton  m i l l s , working women had l i t t l e choice i n e f f e c t i v e l y regulating family size.  We  have  themselves, "victims  very  little  written  but what we do have  of t h e i r  reproductive  evidence  tends  systems"  middle-class observers to understand.  4  from  the working  to show that  working  i n a way that  classes  women were  i s difficult for  - 124 -  The  only  maternity  evidence of what some B r i t i s h women themselves thought about  comes from l e t t e r s written to the Women's Cooperative Guild toward  the end of the period we are studying. do  These Letters are ambiguous; they  5  not point conclusively to either a thesis of voluntary  family  limitation.  were employed Letters  Nor can we discern  i n cotton  manufacture.  are representative  occupations,  including  evidence r e l a t i n g to cotton  from them how many of the writers The editor does  of writings  cotton  mill  mill  or involuntary  from  work,  women  tell  us that the  involved  but no d e f i n i t i v e  work with adverse reproductive  i n various quantifiable outcome i s  e x p l i c i t l y stated.  For  our purpose,  expressed woman.  i n them  the Letters  relating  are important  to family  limitation  because  of the themes  and the working-class  In general, the Letters indicate that barrenness was not a desirable  state f o r the married woman, but too many children too fast created health and economic problems; that women were ignorant to  limit  their  families  and believed  most  of t h e i r  serious  of e f f e c t i v e methods miscarriages  to be  spontaneous.  In t h i s chapter,  I shall  argue that the majority  of miscarriages and  loss of infant l i f e would appear to have been involuntary; was not a r e a l i t y f o r most working women until  induced  the turn of the century and  could therefore not account f o r the much e a r l i e r diminishing the cotton  operatives.  abortion  family size of  - 125 ( The  Women's Cooperative  established maternal  i n 1883, helped  health  Guild,  a  socialist  Although  of working  draw attention to the authorities'  and the underestimation  of  maternity with the publication of Maternity: 1915.  group  involuntary  women  neglect of  influences  on  Letters from Working Women i n  the Letters were published i n 1915, the experiences  of the  women refer to the l a t t e r part of the nineteenth century, a period when the spectre of the declining b i r t h rate reaffirmed i n the minds of middle-class inquirers the suspicion that the t e x t i l e operatives were inducing their own miscarriages i n order to cope with economic pressures.  The Guild d i d some  enquiring  were  of i t s own.  working-class  Six hundred  women and four  hundred  questionnaires responses  were  sent  received.  were chosen  out to The 160  Letters which the Guild subsequently  published  at random and  considered by the e d i t o r to give f a i r  representation of the content of a l l  received, but names, places and occupations were f o r the most part ommitted to  safeguard  the women's i d e n t i t i e s .  have known the sources  The editor, Marylin Davies, who must  of the L e t t e r s , noted  that the greatest decline i n  family size was i n the t e x t i l e 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  In accurate  collecting statistics  working-class  the Letters, the Guild's but a general  maternity.  purpose  6  was not to obtain  picture of the conditions and needs of  women during maternity.  The Guild nevertheless  d i d 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 i n j u r i e s a t b i r t h  g  to the  - 126 number of l i v e b i r t h s . figures  extend  The exact number of years over which the following  are not given,  mothers are included.  nor does  the e d i t o r state whether  single  I t i s assumed therefore that the "number of families"  on which the figures are based i s 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 c h i l d l e s s and 26 d i d not give d e f i n i t e figures. 348.  The number of families to which the figures refer i s  7  TABLE VII STILLBIRTHS AND MISCARRIAGES Number of families Total number of l i v e births Number of miscarriages (15.6 per 100 l i v e births) Number of s t i l l births (5.9 per 100 l i v e births)  348 1,396 218 83  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 stillbirths 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 had s t i l l b i r t h s a l s o ) : 2 1 1 3 2 6 9 17 70  women woman woman women women women women women women  had 10 had 8 had 7 had 6 had 5 had 4 had 3 had 2 had 1  miscarriages each miscarriages miscarriages miscarriages miscarriages miscarriages miscarriages miscarriages miscarriage  (including  22 who  - 127 -  TABLE VIII (cont'd)  Of the 52 women who had s t i l l b i r t h s miscarriages a l s o ) : 1 1 3 9 45  woman woman women women women  had 5 had 4 had 3 had 2 had 1  (including 22 who had  stillbirths stillbirths s t i l l b i r t h s each s t i l l b i r t h s each s t i l l b i r t h each  Infant Deaths: Total number of l i v e births Total number of deaths under 1 year (8.7 per 100 l i v e births)  1,396 122  Of the 122 deaths, 26 took place i n 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 l a t e r , owing to ante-natal causes or injury at b i r t h . Thus, 50 per cent of the deaths occurred either within the f i r s t month or from ante-natal or natal causes a f t e r the f i r s t month. Of the 358 mothers, 86 (24.7 per cent) l o s t children i n the f i r s t year of l i f e . Source:  Maturity:  Letters from Working Women, pp. 194-195  I t 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 s p e c i f i c a l l y .  The accurate calculation  of an  infant death rate depends on the accuracy of the r e g i s t r a t i o n of births and deaths,  and i n the nineteenth  complete.  8  Stillborn  children  possible, even i f a c h i l d  century were  such  registration  not registered  was f a r from  at a l l , and i t  was  died many days a f t e r i t s b i r t h , f o r a person to  declare i t s t i l l b o r n without i t s having been c e r t i f i e d i n either the records of  births  or deaths.  infant mortality  9  The s t a t i s t i c a l  throughout  evidence  available  the nineteenth century with  recorded i n the factory towns of Lancashire.  indicates  high  the highest rates  - 128 CHART IY INFANT MORTALITY IN LANCASHIRE  •a  ^ 5f> si a & & 6-* & &  H  w  *  6  70  7 .  71  Jfi  7 .  Cr, Cvl  Recognizing nevertheless Lancashire  as compared  some special The general  i s reason  with  causes operating  of  the  available  When comparing  that  as Margaret Hewitt  of the rest has pointed  in Lancashire  condition of the Lancashire  in determining  observer  deficiency  are i l l u m i n a t i n g .  becomes obvious,  factor  the  statistics,  the infant  death  of England  and Wales, i t  rate i n  out, "that there must be  to produce so high a r a t e " .  towns was not considered  the cause of high  they  infant  1 0  the major  mortality; a contemporary  reporting on the sanitary condition of Preston writes, "... there to fear that i n addition to those causes which are a l i k e obnoxious  to adult and infant health, there are others operating p e c u l i a r l y * against  underlining mine  - 129 -  the  latter."'  1  A surgeon i n Bury stated  i n 1843 that i n c a l c u l a t i n g the  death rates of infants i n factory towns compared with those towns where only a  few m i l l s existed,  and factory  operatives  were c a r e f u l l y distinguished  from other working classes, a shocking discrepancy noted.  He  conditions, amounted  found  that  the deaths  to  61-1/5%  i n one d i s t r i c t of infants  and  i n infant death rates was  which had extremely  under two years  of other  workers  poor  of factory  32-3/4%.  In Bury  sanitary operatives  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 i n which he considered  conditions and better ventilated cottages a l i k e , he s t i l l  f o r operatives  better sanitary  and other  workers  found that the deaths of infants under two years of factory  operatives to be 56% and of other workers 3 3 % .  12  Nor could evidence be produced that poverty and d e f i c i e n t diet was more prevalent  amongst operatives  between t h e i r  infant death  and could possibly account f o r the discrepancy rates  and that  of other  workers.  During the  cotton famine, a period of great d i s t r e s s and poverty i n the cotton towns of Lancashire,, general dec!ined.  when many mill  death  rate  workers  in Lancashire  were  unable  increased  but  to find the  employment,  infant  death  the rate  - 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  i n the infant  death  rate  i n the d i s t r i c t s  most  affected by the famine was more s i g n i f i c a n t than f o r the county as a whole. It  i s not surprising that contemporaries associated the loss of infant  with female employment i n the cotton m i l l s .  life  However, they could not agree  on whether the deaths were deliberately caused or of an involuntary nature.  Reliable infant  deaths  difficulty the  statistics  legal  are d i f f i c u l t  of obtaining  recognition  relating  to spontaneous  to establish  even  abortion  and premature  today.  First  a commonly accepted d e f i n i t i o n  by a woman that  i s the  of an abortion and  such an abortion has occurred.  Secondly,  aspects i n many countries make i t v i r t u a l l y impossible to distinguish  between induced and spontaneous abortions.  A p i l o t study was undertaken i n 1974 by Nader Kavoussi, M.D., D.I.H. i n Iran.  The purpose of the study was to compare the rate of abortion among  female t e x t i l e workers with the corresponding rate  f o r 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 i n Iran and that i t might be  possible  spontaneous  to establish more abortion  comparatively  than  reliable  estimates  i n the past.  recent and many of the social  of the incidence of  Industrialization  i n Iran i s  conditions are similar to those  in the early cotton industry i n England; i t was thought l i k e l y that induced abortion i s infrequent, since large families are normal for the population with  religious  legal  reasons against  standpoint,  induced  the practice of induced  abortion i s permitted  abortion.  From a  only where i t i s necessary  to save the l i f e of the woman.  13  The also  problems of measurement relating to d e f i n i t i o n and recognition and  the c o l l e c t i o n  textile  workers  of data  was considered  and the control  group;  between two such groups should be v a l i d .  to be present  thus  f o r both the  i t was thought  comparison  Moreover, Iran was chosen as being  p a r t i c u l a r l y suitable for the investigation because of the existence of two such  clearly  defined  groups  of women  - industrial  textile  workers and  non-industrial workers.  The at  study was undertaken i n Isfahan and two t e x t i l e factories selected  random, the Shahmaz factory  employing  about  Nahid factory which employs about 700 operatives. employed i n these two f a c t o r i e s . factories for 15 years or more.  14  4,000 operatives  and the  More than 1,000 women are  Over 70% of the women had worked i n these  - 132 -  A  sample  personally  of 272 young  interviewed  non-industrial  wives.  married women from  f o r comparison  with  the t e x t i l e a  similar  was thought  reasonally  that  similar."  group  were  of 217  The group of non-industrial wives were selected from  the wives of men who worked i n the two factories concerned. it  industry  the social  background  A l l the women  "By t h i s means  of the two groups  i n both  groups  were  would be personally  interviewed but none were informed about the purpose of the study except to indicate that i t was concerned with health promotion.  The  rate  pregnancies  of assumed  i n the case  non-industrial wives.  spontaneous  of the t e x t i l e  mortality  Kavoussi rate  operatives.  was found  to be 12% of  operatives but only 8% f o r  the  Infant mortality was also higher a t 3.16% f o r t e x t i l e  workers with 1.13% for the control  Dr.  abortion  15  concluded  that  were s t a t i s t i c a l l y  groups.  both  16  the abortion  significant  rate  and the infant  and higher f o r the t e x t i l e  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 t e x t i l e operatives than to non-industrial  Both  Kavoussi" s  Chapter IV) indicate  study  and  workers.  Rachootin  17  and  01 sen's  (discussed  in  that an association between subfecundity and a number  of occupations e x i s t but, i n both studies, female cotton operatives are at a significantly  higher risk  of miscarrying than  are other workers.  I f we  posit that the conditions i n nineteenth-century Lancashire were even worse  - 133 -  than i n twentieth-century fertility  through  Iranian and Danish m i l l s , the impact on declining  spontaneous abortion must have been greater f o r t e x t i l e  workers than for other workers.  The  Letters from working women i n general  would therefore understate  the maternity experiences of cotton operatives who by a l l available studies had  the highest  nineteenth  rate  century.  of infant  loss  of any occupational  group  in  the  Even i f we cannot always d i f f e r e n t i a t e  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 i d e n t i f i a b l e that tend to support my contention that  working-class  regulating  family  women, including size  cotton  and believed their  operatives,  felt  helpless i n  many miscarriages  and loss of  infants to be related to factors largely beyond their control.  Firstly,  ignorance  of maternity  matters  giving b i r t h and maintaining the family.  was a major problem  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 t e l l i n g me about these things which were supposed to e x i s t , 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 ... A l l the time I thought that t h i s was the way a l l babies were born.18  both i n  - 134 -  Nor  d i d working  knowledgeable;  women  marrying  later  in life  seem  to be more  a woman who became a mother i n her l a t e 20's writes:  I was married at twenty-eight i n utter ignorance of the things that most v i t a l l y a f f e c t 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 f o r me ... 19  Lack educate told  of communication  was blamed  f o r the ignorance; mothers d i d  t h e i r children and women complained  them  nothing.  Nor d i d the factory  not  that doctors who attended them seem to f a c i l i t a t e  d i f f u s i o n 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 i n 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 many  second  children  available.  theme that characterized might  have  been  saved  the Letters  was the notion  i f medical  attention  This concern seems to contradict the assumption  intentionally  committing  but one writes:  infanticide.  A mother who l o s t  that  had been  that women were a l l her children  - 135 -  ... I have had nine children - seven born i n nine years. I have only one now, some of the others have died from weakness from b i r t h ... For many of my children I have not been able to pay a nurse to look a f t e r me and I have ot out of bed on the t h i r d day to make my own gruel and ainted away. My l i t t l e g i r l which i s j u s t fourteen years old, from the f i r s t month of pregnancy u n t i l my nine months were up I attended the hospital and had a hospital nurse to confine me ... I f o r 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 i n the same vein:  Besides two still born children I have had two miscarriages. The l a s t miscarriage I had I l o s t that much blood i t completely drained me. I was three whole months and was unable to sleep ... The doctor t o l d 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 s i x months. My own opinion i s that the f i r s t was brought on by an unqualified midwife that I had to c a l l at a moment of notice, f o r instead of l e t t i n g me l i e quiet, she acted with me as though i t was a f u l l time c h i l d . And a l l other miscarriages have followed as a r e s u l t of the f i r s t . I have suffered untold agonies through these miscarriages. My health i s a l l undermined ... I have consoled myself by adopting an orphan boy who i s the sunshine of my l i f e . 2 3  These desperate performed  or  c r i e s f o r help do not sound as i f they come from women who resorted  to abortion  as  a  regular  response  to economic  - 136 -  difficulty.  Indeed, the women assumed that i f medical  care had been more  readily accessible t h e i r infants might have had a better chance of l i v i n g .  Medical  care was  largely  out of reach  advent of the National Insurance Act.  f o r these women before  the  Moralists often attempted to persuade  the working class to insure themselves with Friendly Societies against time of i l l n e s s so that they would be covered f o r doctors' services i f the need arose, but few workers did so. working-class poverty,  how  rationality. the  demands  families  For most of the nineteenth century when many  experienced  to spend any  some  period  surplus money was  their  life-cycle  in  not always made on grounds of  We are reminded that the "strength of working class mores and of  working  class  surplus income there was  respectability  were  did  such  that  went not towards health care f o r the  towards ensuring a decent funeral f o r the dead".  Workers  of  subscribe  to  hospital  the  little  living,  but  place  of  24  care  employment but most hospitals i n working-class  through  their  communities did not  really  handle maternity problems.  In Lancashire in the l a t e nineteenth century, the period that relates to  the  experiences  hospitals  can  control.  In  be  of  writers  distinguished by  terms  infirmary, a separate among the poor.  the  of  patients,  of  the  their the  Letters, form  most  of  three social  important  was  categories and the  of  financial poor-law  section of the workhouse which housed the very  sick  The voluntary hospitals which emerged in the l a t t e r half of  the century in the factory towns were supported by subscriptions and staffed  - 137 -  by  honorary  infectious  surgeons disease  and physicians.  hospitals,  owned  In the t h i r d  by the local  control of the local Medical O f f i c e r of Health. having  a range of special  tuberculosis  and chest  hospitals:  complaints.  the r e g i o n . "  were the  authorities  and under  Manchester was untypical i n  f o r maternity, women's disease, f o r "These  25  the concentration of private medical  category  special  services  practices i n the financial  reflected capital of  However, services i n most communities did not r e f l e c t the  26  medical needs of the patient.  Hospitals rather  than  i n the industrial  medical.  towns tended  The concern  27  to emphasize accident cases  f o r the victims of industry was a  s i g n i f i c a n t factor i n the spread of infirmaries Lancashire, the period covered by the Letters. would be more l i k e l y home more e a s i l y . may  have  Elizabeth  were underused.  than  nineteenth-century  A seriously injured patient a case who could be returned  The infirmary, because i t was attached to the workhouse,  discouraged Roberts  to gain admission  i n late  the working  class  from  states that most hospitals  even  attempting  i n working-class  admission. communities  In 1888, f o r example, Lancaster's hospital had 38 beds, but  only 391 in-patients were treated i n that year, an average of 8 patients per week.  28  Whether  the Lancastrians  preferred home  treatment  or were not  allowed admission i s not clear.  Although  the voluntary hospitals which sprang up i n the l a t t e r half of  the nineteenth century dealt mostly with accidents, other cases were treated depending and  on the assessment of the proper  the factory  surgeon  relationship  between subscriber  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 c o l l e c t e d through the workplace and employees made representation  to the employers.  as out-patients, even accident cases, home.  Maternity  out-patients.  37  cases,  30  Many cases were treated  i f they were able to return to work or  i f treated at a l l by professionals, were treated as  Before 1900, only  unwed mothers and very  poor women gave  b i r t h i n hospitals, p a r t i c u l a r l y i f they did not have friends or kin to whom they could turn f o r assistance. ^ 3  In continued  1875, L a n c e t to give birth  32  reported  that  women  in  "northern"  counties  on a kind of s t o o l , formed by tying together "the  two inner front legs of two c h a i r s " and friends were i n attendance.  The  following table shows that hospital births f o r a l l of England were  almost non-existent  i n the nineteenth  century.  TABLE IX PERCENTAGE OF HOSPITAL BIRTHS Year  England  Percentage  1877  less than 1%  1891  27%  1924 Source:  155  \  Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 12, p. 96  T r a d i t i o n a l l y , women had r e l i e d on midwives and this practice as long an  as doctors  all-female  had to be p a i d .  3 3  The typical  confinement tended to be  arrangement with the man of the house sent  relates at the turn of the century:  continued  out.  One woman  - 139 -  Now you see the baby was born i n 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 f o r , some ladies were very very good at attending to c h i l d b i r t h ... t h i s lady was c a l l e d i n 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'  Some believed the doctor charged some  reported  charge".  35  that  There  the doctor  relationship  to t h e i r  doctor was varied.  too much and so f e l t exploited. had  been  very  i s no doubt that individual  generous  However,  "and wouldn't  doctors were often  helpful  even when the workers could not pay, but i n the absence of general medical care, doctors were c a l l e d f o r only as a l a s t r e s o r t .  In communities writes  Pickstone,  that were almost "lived  to  an  i n s t i t u t i o n s of t h e i r employers. non-professional,  self-created  viewed as a form of self-help  entirely uncommon  working extent,  by both  3 7  3 6  class,  the people,  beyond  the  Their culture, r e l i g i o n  and s e l f - r e l i a n t . "  free  social  and medicine  I f maternity  was  care was  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 increase  i n the l a s t  today  also estimate  that induced  quarter of the nineteenth  have been a major method of working-class  abortion was on the  century  and believe i t to  family l i m i t a t i o n .  McLaren, f o r  - 140 -  one, bring  suggests  that the increase i n deliberate abortions was s u f f i c i e n t to  down the national birth  century.  Yet the examples  rate i n the second  he c i t e s  reflect  half  of the nineteenth  women's f a i l u r e ,  rather  than  success, i n 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 t r i e d everything, she bought gin and she could i l l afford and drank i t neat. She carried the t i n back i n from the yard, f i l l e d i t to near b o i l i n g point and then lowered herself i n i t scalding her flesh so p a i n f u l l y that she was i n agony f o r days. She ran up and down s t a i r s until she was exhausted, and when a l l t h i s f a i l e d 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 "Commenting declared:  of successes  on l i v i n g  are from middle-class reports, f o r example:  conditions  i n Middlesborough,  Lady  Florence  Bell  'Nor perhaps can one wonder at the deplorably increasing number  of women who take measures to prevent the c h i l d from coming into the world at a l l ,  a practice which i s no doubt spreading i n the community'."  42  What  evidence Lady Florence Bell had for her assertion i s not clear.  Throughout  recorded  history,  women  have  attempted  to get r i d  of  unwanted pregnancies but, before the twentieth century, i t must have been a very d i f f i c u l t in  thing to accomplish.  accessibility  Edward Shorter traces the breakthrough  to safe abortions to the years  1880 to 1930.  43  This new  -Inaccessibility,  in  his view,  was  the r e s u l t  of  new  technology  in  instrumentation but, p r i o r to 1880,  abortion was confined to women who were  extremely  to end a pregnancy,  desperate and determined  not to the average  working woman.  44  Women would  move  from  the l e a s t  to the most  abortion, depending on how desperate they were. worked." mustard,  45  These  were  the external  binding oneself or f a l l i n g  trauma  dangerous methods of  "The least dangerous rarely  methods,  down s t a i r s .  the hot baths  with  Shorter points out that  professional abortionists never wasted time with these procedures.  46  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  written about emmenogogues until on a complete  misunderstanding  that  almost  everything that  the 1930's was "medical  had been  hocus pocus based  of the body's endocrine system".  40  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, i n the medical l i t e r a t u r e , poisoning cases f a r outweigh in which the mother suffered no grave e f f e c t s .  4 9  those  - 142 -  Shorter abortive  suggests  drugs  that  together  the numerous reports about the uselessness of  with  the equally  numerous  reports  about  their  dreadful  t o x i c i t y can only be explained i n terms of d i f f i c u l t y i n finding a  standard  reliable  been  obtained  control be  dose.  must  The randomness of whether the r i g h t dosage had  30  have made any systematic  next to impossible.  successful or a t l e a s t  another  think she has interrupted one pregnancy  would  expect  an  particularly  suspected  most e f f e c t i v e  in  the  sale  of  The drug  was f i r s t  occupational  drugs,  affective  preventing children  the drug diachylon, considered the  i n the nineteenth  century,  d i d not appear i n  been used i n the t e x t i l e  reported  to have  y e t miners continued  been  used  A medical  towns before  in Sheffield, a  to have the largest families of  groups to the end of the period covered  Report" i n the 1911 Census.  more  In Lancashire, where the t e x t i l e workers were  of using  abortifacient  mining town, i n 1890, all  increase  reports or inquiries as having 52  in  51  on a large scale i f women were indeed  from coming into the world.  1914.  but  few months be pregnant again and end up with a number of l i v e births  abortifacients  any  for fertility  Shorter points out that a woman might i n f a c t  out of a somewhat larger number of conceptions.  One  use of drugs  by the " F e r t i l i t y  o f f i c e r i n S h e f f i e l d reported i n the  Lancet i n 1890:  I have reason to suspect that i n this d i s t r i c t the practice of taking diachylon i n the form of p i l l s to bring on miscarriage i s f a r more prevalent among the working class than i s generally supposed.53  - 143 -  The  drug, an alloy of lead, was either not as e f f e c t i v e as assumed or  i t was not as widely used as supposed.  In fact, Drs. Hall and Ransom, also  writing i n 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, f o r the women of t h i s class do not travel farther than to and from t h e i r nearest market town or center.54  It c e r t a i n l y  seems that the methods available to working women i n the  l a t t e r part of the nineteenth century were not rapidly or  by them.  diffused among them  McLaren writes that although women had t r a d i t i o n a l l y  employed  controls, however dangerous, to space births or protect a mother's health, "the social not c a l l  and economic situation of l a t e r eighteenth century England d i d  these b i r t h  control  tactics  into play on a massive  scale,"  5 5  but  suggests that i n the late nineteenth century they did c a l l  them into play on  a  that  large  scale.  The evidence  nineteenth century, these b i r t h was  on no greater scale  examined control  than e a r l i e r .  here  indicates  t a c t i c s were c a l l e d  i f , i n the  into  play,  it  In desperate matters pertaining to  women's health, women did take dangerous r i s k s , j u s t as they had i n previous times but do not appear to have had more success i n obtaining the object desired than i n the past.  The practice of taking drugs did not r e a l l y seem  to be spreading, a t l e a s t not rapidly.  - 144 -  Although stated  that  successful.  many women suffered from they A  had  woman  attempted with  frequent  to cause  eight  miscarriages, only  a  children,  "slip", two  l e t . alone  stillborn  and  a few been three  miscarriages writes:  I have resorted to drugs, trying to prevent or bring a slip. 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 i n desperation but that they  had been i n e f f e c t i v e :  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 f o r them sound healthy bodies, and were i l l prepared f i n a n c i a l l y and physically to meet the b i r t h of a t h i r d baby ... I confess without shame that when well-meaning friends said 'you cannot afford another baby, take t h i s drug', I took t h e i r strong concoction to purge me of the l i t t l e l i f e that might be mine ... They f a i l e d as such things generally do and the t h i r d baby came ... Nine months l a t e r 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 i n family l i m i t a t i o n .  5 8  - 145 -  Shorter  sees  instrumental Britain,  abortions  when  revolution  i n safe  "curetting" began  no curetting was reported  1908-1911. 400  the real  to  i n the 1890's.  between 1888-1891  and only  be i n  In Great 27 between  (Curetting f o r abortion i n Vienna hospitals, however, rose from  i n 1892 to 4,500 i n 1912.)  Most instrument  59  before the late nineteenth or even twentieth  The major problem with abortionists instrument fever.  abortions  instrumental  or by the women  abortions  were unsafe  century.  abortions done at home, whether by  themselves,  was i n f e c t i o n .  into the uterus can cause contamination  Introducing an  and the woman develops a  6 0  Infected abortions are of p a r t i c u l a r interest because they are an index to those abortions that are induced is  no reason  unsterile  and those that are spontaneous.  why a spontaneous abortion  instruments  are used  blood  should  poisoning  "There  become infected," but when can o c c u r .  We have no  61  s t a t i s t i c a l figures f o r Great B r i t a i n for our period but a s t a t i s t i c a l of a series of abortions  treated i n Johns Hopkins Hospital  study  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 febrile. of  6 2  These s t a t i s t i c s of f e b r i l e cases  the numerous  "complaints"  nineteenth-century  ever mentioned  reports  f e b r i l e cases.  the health problems related s p e c i f i c a l l y cases  among multiparous  were not f e b r i l e .  Indeed, i t w i l l  mothers were  are of interest i n that none of women  cotton  operatives'  Indeed, Dr. Kay, commenting on  to cotton m i l l s , be r e c a l l e d  stated that most  from Chapter IV that  Dr. Kay, commenting on the operatives' disease, which "frequently markedly  - 146 -  excites  the s e n s i b i l i t i e s  respiratory  system"  of the stomach  was rarely  accompanied  and bowels" by " f e b r i l e  and "the whole action"  (p. 72).  Dr. Kay's comments are p a r t i c u l a r l y noteworthy because many of the undefined diseases of the nineteenth other  words, whatever  century  were simply  categorized as "fever".  precipitated the operatives'  i l l health  In  does not  appear to have been accompanied by i n f e c t i o n and fever.  In  addition  to the danger  of i n f e c t i o n  and possible  appears to have been a strong  moral  objection against  One  fight  with  writer  states,  preventative",  "I had a  my  death,  limiting  conscience  there  families.  before  using  a  and another writer comments, "I may say I have disgusted  63  some of our Guild  members  by advocating  restrictions."  6 4  A woman  with  seven c h i l d r e n i n nine years writes:  During my pregancy I suffered much. When a t the end of ten years I was almost a mental and physical wreck I determined that t h i s 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 i n attempting  to l i m i t her family.  It seems questionable whether women would induce abortions except under the  most  special  of situations.  Certainly, they  encouraged each other except i n desperate a miscarriage.  do not appear  to have  situations to intentionally  induce  Rather the contrary seems to have been true, "I cannot speak  too strongly about the e v i l s 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.  to induce a miscarriage,  The women who d i d admit to having attempted  i t will  be noted, gave health  problems as t h e i r  moti ve.  Despite the f a c t that women longed for fewer pregnancies, most accepted frequent have  childbearing and periods  longed  of poverty as t h e i r l o t .  more f o r an end to the ruinous  miscarriages  They seemed to than an end to  childbearing and blamed "overwork" and "lack of rest" for their pregnancies.  Many writers state that miscarriages  disastrous  were more destructive to  the mother's health than confinements and required more time to recover. mother with two children and three miscarriages  A  writes:  I may say that to me the after e f f e c t s 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 i n October and I crawled about a l l winter, and well on into the next summer, l i k e a person i n consumption; i n fact i t was generally thought that I was. And of course a l l those months we were obliged to have a woman i n as I could do nothing.68  The  third  theme i n the Letters  indicates that, although most of the  women who wrote d i d not have a medical miscarriages,  they  m i l l worker writes:  had some notion  diagnosis  f o r the cause of t h e i r  that i t was related to t h e i r work.  A  - 148 -  My f i r s t baby was born before his time from me l i f t i n g piece of the loom.69  my  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 c i t e d 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 t h e i r disastrous pregnancies  on i l l n e s s e s ,  f o r them,  unknown etiology:  I had a very nervous fear that my baby would prove weakly because I had suffered f o r so many years from chronic bronchitis ... At that time i t was much more usual to t r u s t to Providence and I f a woman died i t only proved her weakness and unfitness f o r motherhood. My baby l i v e d only seven months ...73  - 149 -  Although developed,  she does not give an opinion as to how her bronchial problems  she does  confinement.  state  Another  that  blames  she worked  the b i r t h  until  one month  of s i c k l y  children  before her on "extreme  attacks of haemorrhage and shortness of breath leaving me a wreck a t those times".  Although  74  disastrous  these women d i d not understand  pregnancies  i n the l a t e  nineteenth  the complexity  century,  they  of t h e i r  suspected an  association between pulmonary impairment and reproductive outcome for which twentieth-century research would establish a probable l i n k .  The  Women's Cooperative  women to control of  human  life  differed  Guild recognized  t h e i r family size.  was not what  on s p e c i f i c s ,  knowledge of maternal  the helplessness of working  They also recognized that the wastage  the women wanted.  their  overall  hygiene,  While  perception  access to medical  the working women  of maternity  help.and  was that  less harmful work  would a l l e v i a t e t h e i r suffering.  Fear  of population  strategists support  realized  decline  this  stimulated  was a good  of working women's maternity  time need.  public concern  and the Guild  to go a l l out f o r government 75  They  maternity benefit under the National Health Insurance  fought  f o r and won a  to be paid d i r e c t l y to  women, not to husbands, and to be given to non-employed as well as employed women.  In addition,  childbirth of  they  f o r the employed.  Municipal  Maternity  got provision  f o r four  The Guild subsequently  Centers  weeks  sick  pay at  won the establishment  f o r pre- and post-natal  care  as well as  - 150 delivery. by  7 0  Linda  Gordon  no means adequate  points  out that, although  or permanent  (retrenchment  these  policies  v i c t o r i e s were after  immediately cut back on Maternity Centers), they were i m p r e s s i v e .  The purpose of the publication of the Letters was to a l t e r regarding working-class motherhood.  the war  77  perceptions  The editor writes:  Much of the suffering entailed i n maternity, much of the damage to the l i f e and health of women and children would be got r i 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. I t i s not the women's f a u l t that they are ignorant, f o r the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of knowledge have not been within t h e i r r e a c h . 78  The Guild does not seem to have advocated or rejected b i r t h control but l i k e other  feminists believed that women should  have options.  Davis  noted  that the decline of family size was greatest among the t e x t i l e workers and believed  i t to be  partially  the r e s u l t  of ruined  health  caused  ineffective abortifacients.  Opinions may d i f f e r as to the good or e v i l of the general l i m i t a t i o n of f a m i l i e s , but there can only be agreement upon the e v i l 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 i n many places among working women. The practice i s ruinous to the health of women, i s more often than not useless f o r procuring the object desired, and probably accounts f o r the fact that many children are weakly and diseased from b i r t h . But here again the cause of the e v i l l i e s i n the conditions which produce i t . 7 9  by  - 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, s t r a i n and domestic conditions are responsible for large numbers of miscarriages, and point to the urgent need of prenatal c a r e . 8 0  Davis challenges the State to recognize i t s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y :  The State has f i r s t to r e a l i z e that i f i t wants c i t i z e n s , and healthy c i t i z e n s , i t must make i t possible for men and women to have families while l i v i n g a f u l l l i f e themselves and giving a f u l l l i f e to t h e i r children. At present this i s not possible from top to bottom of the working c l a s s , unless the economic position of the working class family be improved. The f i r s t requisite i s then the improvement of the economic position of the f a m i l y . 81  Davis luxuries, lives  i s d e f i n i t e that "words l i k e  of manual  she i s not r e f e r r i n g to advanced  'ease and luxury  workers".  1  wages or  are grotesque when applied to the  She i s e x p l i c i t  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 c l a s s family as regards maternity ... bring specialized knowledge, adequate rest, nourishment arid care, medical supervision and treatment within reach.82  The control care;  Letters revealed over  family  no access  that the women themselves f e l t they had no real  size:  to medical  they  had no knowledge  supervision  and t h e i r  of e f f e c t i v e  maternity  own home remedies were  - 152 -  generally decision  useless implies  and an  often  damaging  awareness of  to  options.  health. It  To  i s quite  make  a  deliberate  obvious  that  the  even  the  women did not perceive a viable choice in planning family size.  I t i s probable that, i n the nineteenth  century,  no  one,  not  operatives themselves, understood the extent to which conditions of the work environment  determined  the  limitation  research would wait until the twentieth  of  their  century.  families.  More  focused  - 153 -  NOTES TO CHAPTER V  1.  Bernard Benoit, Family, p. 38.  cited  2.  Discussed more f u l l y i n Chapter I I .  3.  Angus McLaren, p. 250.  4.  Edward Shorter, "Women's Diseases Psychohistory, 1980, p. 183.  5.  Marylin Davis (ed.), Maternity: Letters from Working Women i n 1915, henceforth noted as Letters, "Introduction", Linda Gordon, 19/8 were written about experiences i n the 19th century.  6.  Ibid., p. 2.  7.  Letters, p. 194.  8.  Margaret Hewitt, Wives and Mothers.  9.  Ibid.  10.  Ibid.  11.  Appendix to F i r s t XVII, p. 46.  12.  Hansard, 1844, p. 108.  13.  N. Kavoussi, "The E f f e c t of I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n 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.  Birth  by Edward  Control  Report  Shorter,  The Making  i n Nineteenth before  Century  1900",  of the Modern  England, 1978,  New Directions i n  of Health of Towns Commission, B.P.P., 1844,  v o l . LXXXIX, cols. 1, 117-44, c i t e d by Hewitt, Op. c i t . ,  - 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 i n Lancashire Towns", Health, Disease and Medicine i n 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 i n 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.  42.  Ibid., p. 248.  43.  Shorter, History of Women's Bodies, p. 177.  44.  Loc. c i t .  j  - 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 S t a t i s t i c a l Study of a Series of Abortions Occurring i n 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., i x .  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  economic phenomenon broadened concerns.  i n the nineteenth  i n the twentieth  century  century  as a social  to include  health  Indeed, health and welfare of the mother became the central issue  in the international birth control movement.  The changes that  contributed  to the t r a n s i t i o n were slowly evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  Marie Stopes, who has been credited with control  movement from Malthusian  eventually  freeing the birth  economic theories, developed "The Society  for Constructive Birth Control" but retained a c o n c i l i a t o r y attitude towards members  of the League.  League  in  "undisputed  fact  1  joined  leader"  Many members Stopes's  In 1930, a National  the  activities  the  health  birth  2  influential Margaret  control  of labour  Birth Control  of e x i s t i n g organizations.  of the family  of the pioneers Council  i n the  Sanger  movement  to Marie Stopes's debt to the Malthusians:  was prepared f o r her by years J  had been  organization.  of the international  1930's made reference  her."  who  as  i n the  "Her path  who had preceded  was formed to coordinate  A, c o r o l l a r y of the concern f o r  was the determination  that motherhood  must be  voluntary i n 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". of determinants  for f e r t i l i t y  change i s extremely  intricate  The network and there i s  - 158 sufficient  evidence  to suggest that, at l e a s t where cotton operatives are  concerned, environmental  factors had a s i g n i f i c a n t  impact on t h e i r  family  size.  Debate early i n the nineteenth for  the industrial  birth into  over who should  poor and the subsequent controversy  rate, p a r t i c u l a r l y focus  century  among t e x t i l e workers, helped  by the turn of the century.  be responsible  over the diminishing bring health issues  Some contemporaries believed the  t e x t i l e operatives were deliberately aborting and therefore largely to blame for  the wastage  of infant  life  and the mother's  i l l health.  Others  suggested that the polluted environment of the m i l l s , where women worked i n ever  increasing numbers, was somehow causing  However, to d i f f e r e n t i a t e almost  impossible  the disastrous  pregnancies.  between deliberate and spontaneous abortion was  i n most  cases,  even  f o r physicians  and the women  themselves.  "Deliberate" family planning was not r e a l l y f e a s i b l e i n an environment that  offered  information  no viable options; or  care,  and  the absence  the  social  of any professional  and  political  forces  medical against  a r t i f i c i a l l y c o n t r o l l i n g family size must have been overwhelming influences against corollary  voluntary  limitation;  of attempts  nor was p o s i t i v e economic  to control  fertility.  health and poverty continued to be experienced for a good part of t h e i r l i f e cycle.  Disastrous  reinforcement  a  pregnancies, i l l  by the majority of operatives  - 159 -  Recognition cotton  of ailments  dust, contributed  medical  profession  associated with industrial  to questioning  connection the  i f not challenging  and the authorities that  health were causally related.  pollutants, such as  Gradually,  the view of the  poor morals,  poverty and  ill  i t was realized that an important  existed between the physical condition of the mother herself and  category  of  "developmental  diseases"  that  accounted  for a  large  proportion of premature wastage and infant deaths.  Investigations  into  the health  throughout the nineteenth  century  of cotton  operatives  and a number  were  of important  undertaken observations  deserve r e i t e r a t i o n .  Firstly,  investigators repeatedly  cotton dust was causing operatives. control  that  the "most  involved i n these  out that very  by i n s t a l l i n g  dustiest processes,  the government that  serious health problems f o r the majority  They pointed  the dust  advised  few mill  exhaust  airborne of cotton  owners were attempting to  systems.  They  stated  that the  carding and weaving, were performed mostly by women and  unfavourable" processes.  cases  were  "usually  found  amongst  women"  4  Secondly, the investigators described  symptoms of i l l n e s s  that became  progressively more serious depending on the amount and length of exposure to dust to which an operative  was subjected.  in a dusty environment led to:  diminished  5  They suggested  that  labouring  fecundity; abortion; stomach and  - 160 bowel derangement; anemia; a weakened and constriction;  asthma;  and  eventually  vitiated  chronic  c o n s t i t u t i o n ; pulmonary  respiratory  problems  which  often led to an early death.  The  government,  nevertheless,  did  not  take  c o n t r o l l i n g cotton dust until well into the twentieth  In  the  1930's  investigated the  and  40's,  Dr. H i l l  at  the  state of health of cotton m i l l  effective  action  in  century.  University  of  Manchester  workers i n Lancashire  and  noted that some improvement was being made to control dust:  It seems evident that the conditions i n the cardroom before localized exhaust v e n t i l a t i o n and vacuum f o r stripping were introduced were d i s t i n c t l y unfavourable to health, both men and women being affected. Such extreme conditions no longer e x i s t and i t i s to be hoped that the injurious e f f e c t 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 f i b r e , to the maximum extent possible, i s obviously d e s i r a b l e . 6  However,  i t was  still  not  recognized  that  by  controlling  cotton dust so as to eradicate the more obvious symptoms of i l l not  necessarily eradicate  1970's was create continue  i t noted  symptoms  of  that  more  subtle  reduced  byssinosis  health  dosages or  to have adverse e f f e c t on  of  impairment. cotton  dust,  levels  health did  Not  until  too  little  gastrointestinal disturbances, the  reproductive  system.  of  We  now  the to  might 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 the  gastrointestinal smooth muscle  bowel  disturbances.  Even  muscle to contract and small  dosages  operates  as  of a  greater  to  contract  dosages can  resulting cause  the  lead to pulmonary complications.  gossypol,  powerful  a  phenolic  compound  anti-fertility  agent  men  required  for  fertility  control,  however,  and  smooth  also know that  i n cotton  in  stomach  bronchial We  dust  without  side-effects such as bowel or respiratory disturbances. that  in  cause  and  seed  observable  Larger dosages than  can  cause  unpleasant  side-effects.  Although research  occupational  i n the  twentieth  because of d i f f i c u l t y Economic  health  has  century,  become  a  many answers  specialized to  problems  field are  i n c l a r i f y i n g categories of research and  factors continue  to  have  major  policy decisions; benefits that w i l l exceed the costs of c o n t r o l .  Who  identifiable  accrue  for  delayed  priorities.  inputs  into  health  from environmental control must  i s at s i g n i f i c a n t r i s k i s not immediately  demonstrable and possibly not always the most important consideration.  Even  when  i t is  specific  environment  serious  methodological  assessing  recognized and  outcome i s the  ability  These categories are define h i s t o r i c a l l y .  research  problems  relationships  that  are  between  into  the  fertility problem  encountered.  occupational  to c l e a r l y  difficult  human  define both  to assess  Of  is is  a  major  exposures  at  risk  top  in  priority,  relevance  and  "exposures" and  a  in  reproductive "outcome".  today but even more d i f f i c u l t  to  - 162 There are a number of fundamental information confounding Firstly, seldom  on  "exposure"  factors  which  occupational the case that  hazardous exposure  and  substance.  identifying  be  to  support  have  combined  can  worker  The  used often  i s exposed  cotton  to chemicals used  in dyes  and  is difficult  to quantify  exposures.  determined through industrial determine the dose  received  of and  to only  operatives,  being exposed to the chemical and i r r i t a n t it  sizing  contaminants  needed  because  of  increase in oxygen.  non-occupational  exposures;  to obtaining  controlling for  causal  a  hypothesis.  exposures. single  f o r example,  potentially  may  q u a l i t i e s of the dust. Even  It i s  have  had  of threads i n addition  when exposure  to  Secondly,  levels  can  be  hygiene monitoring, i t i s often impossible to by the i n d i v i d u a l .  The  greater when one considers that pregnant women may of  relate  to the  populations a  problems which  their  problem  becomes even  take i n a greater volume  hyperventilating  i n order to obtain  a  Thirdly, there i s a problem in c o n t r o l l i n g f o r 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 i s o l a t e f o r purpose of  h i s t o r i c a l study.  There are also problems associated with i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and of  reproductive "outcome".  I t i s very d i f f i c u l t , f o r example,  definition  to determine  what has been caused genetically or chemically; nor i s i t always possible to ascertain whether a miscarriage has indeed occurred.  - 163 -  Of extreme importance also i s the selection For  reproductive  meaningfully,  outcome  i t must  be  non-exposed population. compared  the  "ideal"  in  an  exposed  compared  An  attempt  to  population  data  derived  at t h i s  dust-free m i l l s  with  of a control  was  population.  to  be  interpreted  from  a  similar  made i n Chapter IV which  those  having  bad  ventilation.  There are problems here i n that we do not have any d i r e c t data on levels  aside  from  the  literary  kind  which  but  can  be  fertility  misleading.  Census  s t a t i s t i c s , as stated e a r l i e r , do not provide such s p e c i f i c information.  How  then  do we  environmental  move toward  factors  had  a  a more s o l i d  significant  proof  impact  of the  on  the  argument that  family  size  of  nineteenth-century cotton operatives?  It social  i s , of and  course,  economic  environmental  not  the  factors  as  social  Maithusianism forces  parameters  as  having  of t h i s had  no  paper to rule impact.  act  imposed  the  cotton dust.  However,  when  with upon  by  the  be i n danger of c r e d i t i n g the social movement  undue  success.  people's  lives  environment  in  We  cannot  without which  possibility  of  a  direct  physical  however assess  consideration they  d i r e c t l y a t t r i b u t i n g physical consequences to changing avoids  out a l l  factors align with a social d i r e c t i v e , such as "a small family  i s economically sound", we may such  intention  are social  intermediary,  how  of  the  embedded.  By  consciousness in this  case,  - 164 -  Given the above, the question more evidence inhalation utilized would  i s needed connecting  across  comparative  with  groupings  time;  one  prospective study  and  and  original  where  stage.  Clearly,  l e v e l s with cotton  proper  census manuscripts  in which occupational or  exposure  actual f e r t i l i t y  a view to family reconstitution.  cohort study through  at t h i s  controls  to i s o l a t e exposures, outcomes and control populations.  have to consult  material  i s what to do  follow  could  One  modify  to  the  vital  this  design  present.  can  be  Thus,  one  registration  could design a type of  groups are i d e n t i f i e d today and and  trace i d e n t i f i e d occupational them  and  conduct  a  followed  historical  groups which d i f f e r i n  C l e a r l y , studies of  would require long-term commitment of both personnel  this  and financial  however,  reproductive occupational we  cannot  spontaneous evidence  that  hazards  the of  the  regulation and determine abortion  the and  issue  of  work  workers'  place  will  reproductive become  research i n the future. precise fetal  quantitative wastage,  there  It i s  health  major  focus  and of  Even though at present  impact is  a  type  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. clear,  dust  of at  cotton least  dust  on  sufficient  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.  2.  Loc. c i t .  3.  Rosanna Ledbetter, The Organization that Delayed History of the Malthusian League, 1877-1927, p. 279.  4.  Discussed more f u l l y i n Chapter  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 " v i t i a t e d c o n s t i t u t i o n " , p. 75.  6.  Cited i n , Corn, "Byssinosis - An H i s t o r i c a l Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1981, p. 343.  7.  L.E. 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