said, he had already presented two petitions, praying that the 410 laws prohibiting the exportation of machinery might not be repealed. Considering the alarming extent to which combinations were carried in the manufacturing districts, there were obvious reasons why the master manufacturers should not come forward and expose themselves to personal risk, by giving evidence of the mischief that had already arisen from combinations, and the danger to which they would be exposed by the repeal of the existing laws.
§ Mr. Mansfield
said, he could not hear, without much regret, the observation of the hon. member, as to master manufacturers being intimidated by their workmen, and consequently prevented from stating their opinion of the Combination laws before a committee of that House. He begged to state, that no such feeling prevailed between masters and their workmen in the place which he had the honour to represent. The most respectable-master manufacturers in Leicester concurred in opinion with their workmen, that the Combination laws ought to be repealed. He was sorry to hear that such hostile feelings prevailed between masters and their workmen in any part of the country; and he was satisfied that they had been produced by the very laws which the workmen were anxious to repeal.
could not concur with the hon. member, that the ferocious character of the combinations in Lancashire had been produced by the Combination laws themselves. That those laws were ineffectual, as a remedy for evils against which they were intended to provide, he was ready to admit; but he could not agree that they were the cause of the enormities produced by combinations among workmen. Combinations did not, for the most part, take place while wages were low, but when wages were high. The most ferocious combinations had taken place in Glasgow and Manchester when the rate of wages amounted to from 30s. to 50s. a week.
§ Ordered to lie on the table.