Letter XXXIII: Thursday, February 7, 1850
Before proceeding to give a statement of the earnings of the Boot and Shoe makers working at the different branches of the West-end Men's Trade, it is necessary that I should lay before the reader an historical account (so to speak) of the duties upon foreign boots and shoes, as well as the quantities introduced into the kingdom at different periods. The workmen, it will be seen, attribute the decline in the ordinary amount of their work, as well as the reduction of their wages, to fiVe distinct causes. (1 ). The increase in the introduction of Northampton goods into the London market. (2). The large quantity of foreign boots and shoes annually imported from France. (3). The number of workmen who are unable to obtain employment, owing to their labour being displaced by the cheap provincial and French commodities. (4). The competition among the masters, which causes them to seek out the cheapest market, and so to•encourage the production of the cheapest goods. (5). The competition among the workmen, who, being thrown out of employment by the cheap country and foreign goods, seek a sustenance by offering their labour at a lower price than the usual wages of the trade.