chapter
18 Pages

Letter XXVII: Friday, January 18, 1850

TheevilsconsequentupontheuncertaintyoflabourIhavebeenat considerablepainstopointout.Thereisstilloneothermischiefattendant uponitthatremainstobeexposed,andwhich,ifpossible,isgreaterthan anyotheryetadduced.Manyclassesoflabourarenecessarilyuncertainor fitfulintheircharacter.Someworkcanbepursuedonlyatcertain seasons-somedependsuponthewinds,as,forinstance,dock labour-someonfashion,andnearlyallonthegeneralprosperityofthe country.Now,thelabourerwhoisdeprivedofhisusualemploymentbyany oftheabovecauses,must-unlesshehaslaidbyaportionofhisearnings whileengaged-becomeaburdentohisparishorthestate,orelsehemust seekworkeitherofanotherkind,orinanotherplace.Thebarefactofa man'sseekingworkindifferentpartsofthecountry,maybetakenas evidencethatheisindisposedtoliveonthecharityorlabourofothers,and thisfeelingshouldbeencouragedineveryrationalmanner.Hencethe greatestfacilityshouldbeaffordedtoalllabourerswhomaybeunableto obtainworkinonelocality,topasstoanotherpartofthecountrywhere theremaybeademandfortheirlabour.Infme,itisexpedientthatevery meansshouldbegivenforextendingthelabourmarkettotheworking-man; thatistosay,forallowinghimaswideafieldfortheexerciseofhiscallingas possible.Todothisinvolvestheestablishmentofwhatarecalledthe "casualwards"ofthedifferentunionsthroughoutthecountry.Theseare, strictlyspeaking,thefreehostelriesoftheunemployedworkpeople,where theymaybelodgedandfed,ontheirwaytofindworkinsomemoreactive district.Buttheestablishmentofthesegratuitoushotelshascalledinto existencealargeclassofwayfarersforwhomtheywerenevercontemplated. Theyhavebeenthemeansofaffordinggreatencouragementtothose vagabondorerraticspiritswhofindcontinuityofapplicationtoanytask especiallyirksometothem,andwhoarephysicallyunableormentally unwillingtoremainforanylengthoftimeeitherinthesameplaceoratthe samework-creatureswhoarevagrantsindispositionandprinciple-the wanderingtribeofthiscountry-thenomadsofthepresentday.