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EVERYTHING that has a direct bearing on the
prosperity, happiness, and reputation of the
working-men of England should be a Household

We offer a few remarks on a subject which
has recently attracted their attention, and on
which one particular and important branch
of industry has made a demonstration, affecting,
more or less, every other branch
of industry, and the whole community; in the
hope that there are few among the intelligent
body of skilled mechanics who will suspect us
of entertaining any other than friendly feelings
towards them, or of regarding them with
any sentiment but one of esteem and

The Engine Drivers and Firemen on the
North Western line of Railwaythe great
iron high-road of the Kingdom, by which
communication is maintained with Ireland,
Scotland, Wales, the chief manufacturing
towns of Great Britain, and the port which
is the main artery of her commerce with the
worldhave threatened, for the second time,
a simultaneous abandonment of their work;
and relinquishment of their engagements
with the Company they have contracted to

We dismiss from consideration, the merits
of the case. It would be easy, we conceive,
to show, that the complaints of the men, even
assuming them to be beyond dispute, were
not, from the beginning of the manifestation,
of a grave character, or by any mean hopeless
of fair adjustment. But, we purposely
dismiss that question. We purposely dismiss,
also, the character of the Company, for careful,
business-like, generous, and honourable
management. We are content to assume that
it stands no higher than the level of the very
worst public servant bearing the name of
railway, that the public possesses. We will
suppose MR. GLYN'S communications with
the men, to have been characterised by
overbearing evasion, and not (as they
undoubtedly have been) by courtesy, good
temper, self-command, and the perfect spirit
of a gentleman. We will suppose the case of
the Company to be the worst that such a case
could be, in this country, and in these times.
Even with such a reduction of it to its lowest
possible point, and a corresponding elevation
of the case of the skilled Railway servants to
its highest, we must deny the moral right or
justification of the latter to exert the immense
power they accidentally possess, to the public
detriment and danger.

We say, accidentally possess, because this
power not been raised up by themselves.
If there be ill-conditioned spirits among them
who represent that it has been, they represent
what is not true, and what a minute's rational
consideration will show to be false. It is the
result of a vast system of skilful combination,
and a vast expenditure of wealth. The
construction of the line, alone, against all the
engineering difficulties it presented, involved
an amount of outlay that was wonderful, even
in England. To bring it to its present state
of working efficiency, a thousand ingenious
problems have been studied and solved,
stupendous machines have been constructed, a
variety of plans and schemes have been
matured with incredible labour: a great
whole has been pieced together by numerous
capacities and appliances, and kept
incessantly in motion. Even the character of the
men, which stands deservedly high, has not
been set up by themselves alone, but has been
assisted by large contributions from these
various sources. Without a good permanent
way, and good engine power, they could not
have established themselves in the public
confidence as good drivers. Without good
business-management in the complicated
arrangements of trains for goods and passengers,
they could not possibly have avoided accidents.
They have done their part manfully; but they
could not have done it, without efficient aid
in like manful sort, from every department of
the great executive staff. And because it
happens that the whole machine is dependent
upon them in one important stage, and is
delivered necessarily into their controland
because it happens that Railway accidents,
when they do occur, are of a frightful nature,
attended with horrible mutilation and loss of
lifeand because such accidents, with the
best precautions, probably must occur, in the
event of their resignation in a bodyis it,
therefore, defensible to strike?

To that, the question comes. It is just so
narrow, and no broader. We all know,
perfectly well, that there would be no strike, but