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every atom of the responsibility from his own
shoulders upon those of a general manager.
He is responsible for nothing but his manager.
At least, then, he should have ample assurance
of his manager's efficiency, and should see
enough of him to know that he is a sufficient
steward as to matters which cannot be wholly
represented on a balance-sheet. The owner
of this colliery, like many other owners, left
all his duties to be discharged for him by his
general manager, and that gentleman, whose
most serious responsibilities are under-ground,
deposes that his "duties are above-ground
altogether." In the last two years and a-half
he has been under-ground once only; that
was eighteen months ago, "on one particular
occasion." Even when the terrible catastrophe
occurred, and one hundred and fourteen of
the men under his control lay dead through
neglects for which, if the owner be credited,
he was responsible, "I did not," he says, "go
down the pit, because, as I knew nothing of
gas, I thought it would be useless." To be
sure, it may be said, he was not wanted down
there to show knowledge of gas, but to show
sympathy with the great grief by which he
was surroundedto obey the human impulse
which it pleases few men to see checked on
any such occasion. As general manager of
the colliery, however, this gentleman
declared himself to be of no use under-ground;
he neither could advise the living, nor assist
in looking for the dead. "I don't consider,"
he said, "that I have experience enough to
undertake the management of the under-
ground portion of a colliery." The working
under-ground was trusted wholly to the overman,
with the reserve that he should make
no sort of alteration, through meeting with
faults, or for other reasons; that he should
make no new heading or air-way until he had
applied for leave to the general manager,
who was without experience enough on
matters of that kind. He was to do nothing
"without first consulting me, and ascertaining
my opinion."

The general manager throws the responsibility
for under-ground works on the overman,
whom he confesses both that he is
incompetent to direct, and that he does
direct. He has depended also for his
knowledge of the mine upon the under-ground
agent, who should be a mining engineer.
There have been, during the last two years,
two persons, A. and B., in this position on the
colliery of which we are now telling the
story. Their duties were not defined in
writing: they paid the men's wages, and
kept the books; the workings ought to have
been inspected by them twice a week. Mr. B.,
being delicate in health, went down once a
fortnight, on measuring day, and had resigned
his situation at the colliery altogether, a few
days before the explosion. It was not
immediately filled up. Mr. A., who was mineral
or under-ground agent until the last February
twelvemonth, since which time the works
have been very much extended, called to mind
suggestions made to him by the government
inspector: among which, one was the
establishing of a communication between the
old and new pits: another, the use of
more than one air current. He reported to
the general manager some of the suggestions.
"I resigned," says Mr. A. "You may draw
your own conclusions as to the cause.
Probably I might have seen something looming
in the future."

Mr. B. said he had always looked upon the
general manager, and not himself, as the
mineral agent of the colliery. The general
manager had told him, when he entered its
service, that "the greatest thing he had
against Mr. A. was that he interfered too
much with his business as manager of the
mine." Mr. B. complained to no purpose of
the air in the pit, although without anticipating
an explosion. "I thought," he says,
"it was not pure enough for the health of the
men; and I would have altered it if I had
had the under-ground management of the
mine at that time."

The overman who had charge of the under-
ground arrangements could not, as we have
seen, make any sort of alteration in the state
of the mine without the general manager's
authority. He saw that the men did their
daily work, and for his actual knowledge of
the safe condition of the workings he
depended on the firemen. There were three
firemen, and their main dutythe general
manager deposes that he cannot tell
precisely what their duties weretheir main
duty was to go into the pit, carrying safety-
lamps, at about three o'clock every morning,
traverse the galleries, and enter all the headings
and stalls in which colliers worked, trying
the air with their lamps, and, where they
found much gas, putting up some cross
timbers as a danger signal, to prevent the men
from entering. When they had reported to
the overman that all was safe, the colliers
went down to work with naked candles. In
a well ventilated mine, the right discharge of
the office of fireman, though highly essential,
would not be a matter of such pressing
moment as in the case of a mine throughout the
greater part of which air never could be
pure; in which the foul gas burnt, as a matter
of course, in corpse-lights on the points of
the men's candles; from which engineers had
shrunk; against which the government
inspector had remonstrated; and which there
was no manifest intention of improving.
Upon the right discharge of their trust by
the firemen, morning after morning, hung (as
they should not have hung) the lives of many
men from day to day. No collier liked to
go into his working unless by some arrangement
of the tools a sign was left that the
fireman had been there before him. For
example. One of the witnesses in the case of
which we are speaking, a collier named Morgan,
tells how, a few days before the great

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