municipal government there has been a continuous contest for the control of the governmental powers by the various classes and interests within the municipality. The class on top jealously guarding its position has unmercifully fought against every attempt of the classes below to gain a more advantageous position. One class has stubbornly fought for concessions; the other class has as stubbornly declined to grant them.

It is, therefore, not surprising that when the ancient labor unions tried to take an active part in the affairs of government they were met with rebuffs by the classes in control, and this frequently led to serious clashes. These clashes often resulted in victories for the association of workingmen, and gained them a certain measure of political power, which would have ultimately led to a leveling of the distinctions between the classes of Rome if the Romans had been a peacefully inclined people. But wars and the era of conquests that followed the reign of peace under the wise Numa proved the best ally of the upper classes. The inpouring of the vanquished foes as slaves to the rich served to make the rich independent of the labor of the organized craftsmen. It made for a condition of affairs when employment became difficult to obtain and the living of those affiliated with the associations became insecure and unstable. The workmen, finding themselves in an undermined economic position, exerted every effort to obtain not only political rights but what soon got to be more important, the means of subsistence from the state.

Legislation favorable to the working people, clamorously demanded, was always stubbornly resisted by the upper classes, and frequently led to serious disturbances that threatened the stability of the commonwealth. Those in authority, being themselves members of the upper classes and intent to keep their class in control, sought to overcome the influence of the labor unions by outlawing them.

In the year A. U. C. 685, the Senate of Rome passed an act abolishing the labor unions; but at this time the unions were evidently too strong to be abolished by a mere act of the Senate, for it was only seven years later that Clodius re-established all their former rights, immunities and privileges. They endured through all the stress and storms of the next 500 years when

Julius Caesar, mindful perhaps of the aid and comfort given by the unions to the slaves struggling for liberty under the leadership of Spartacus the Gladiator, again undertook to abolish all of them except those of ancient foundation chartered under the laws of Numa.

However the need for their existence was either again too urgent or the power of the dictator not strong enough to accomplish his purpose, for the labor unions again survived the storm.

A hundred years later the great Augustus essayed to destroy them, but despite the decree of the emperor the unions continued to maintain themselves; for it is stated that unions of craftsmen and laborers existed in every city of the Roman Empire, even so late as the reign of the Emperor Constantine. (Cod. Theod., VIII, 1-6-9 & 15, cited in the Encyc. of Free Masonry.)

It is evident, from what has been said in the preceding pages that in the course of the thousand years that had elapsed since the first labor unions were recognized as lawful organizations by the laws enacted under Numa Pompilius, the labor unions had maintained themselves with varying success. But the candid student of their history is forced to the humiliating conclusion that their activities on the political field were influenced too often by that irascible impulse which induces man to throw calm discretion to the winds and seeks to achieve by means of the sword what can be accomplished by peaceful methods only. legal status given to the organizations of workingmen was filched from them as much by their own injudicious methods of economic and political warfare as by the exertions of the upper classes, their hereditary opponents. The foul wars and the internal dissension that raged throughout those centuries of Roman history, with their fearful train of slavery, luxury and dissipation that transformed a virile and liberty-loving people into a nation of rich tyrants and beggared paupers not only dismantled the superstructure of the trades unions but undermined the very foundation upon which ancient trades unions were founded. But even when deprived of their legal status, robbed of their rights, privileges and immunities, and forced to eke out a precarious existence, there still remained in the breasts of those adherents of the old school of trades unionism

that conception of morality, love and fidelity, which in the wisdom of God made those remnants of the once powerful unions the carriers of the grandest and most sublime religious philosophy the world has ever known-the brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God.


In the preceding chapter we have endeavored to show how the ancient labor unions, after they had attained a legal status by reason of which they came to be looked upon as an integral and constituent part of the community in which they existed and in the state, had that legal status gradually taken away from them. Their once powerful and beneficial brotherhoods were broken up by the decrees of Senate and Emperors, their property was fiscated, and their officers were imprisoned and frequently put to death.

Above all other agencies they were the chief propagandists of the new religion which taught its disciples that God Almighty was the Father, and all mankind without exception his children, in whose Kingdom there were to be no distinctions of any sort whatever. This but served to increase the hatred and ill will the ruling classes bore towards them and caused their unmerciful persecution. The era of the persecution of the labor unions is coeval with that of the persecution of the Christians; for Christianity was deeply rooted in the labor unions and the one was frequently a synonym for

the other.

However, once Christianity became fashionable among the well-to-do, the labor unions soon came to be looked upon as the poor relation of the church and were treated accordingly; and while here and there the principle of trades unionism sprang into life again, or managed to eke out a precarious existence, the grand idea of Labor's brotherhood gradually sank into oblivion.

Masonic writers who have bestowed much loving labor and time to the study of those surviving remnants of ancient trades unionism assert that unions of craftsmen flourished and existed in Great Britain and Ireland, and in what is now the southern part of France long after the organizations had been suppressed in the Roman empires of the West and the East and still existed in the time of the Anglo-Saxon irruption into England.

There is evidence that points to a blending of the remnants of ancient trades unionism with the early Christian brotherhood, culdees or guilds, but the transition period is vague and indistinct.

In the shadow of the early monasteries the organizations of the workingmen lose their distinct character and we find little that will pass as reliable information as to whether they preserved their ancient rules and traditions and to inform us in regard to their legal status.

The conquest of Southeastern Europe by the Barbarian hordes from the North and Northeast and East, with the general devastation and ruin of the places where culture flourished, the introduction of the feudal system and the resultant check to trade and industry, made a condition most unfavorable to advancement and progress of the or ganizations of labor. It is well into the Eleventh Century after the coming of Christ before trades unionism in the form of guilds becomes an active factor.

The Germanic race is now coming to the front in the progress of civilization. The first authentic record of the lawful organization of craftsmen during the Middle Ages, is the charter of the twenty-three fishers of Worms, sanctioned by the Bishop Adelbert of that city in the year 1106. From that time on reliable records of labor organizations become more plentiful and it is easy to trace them through the centuries intervening to the present time.

It is necessary in order to understand the difference between the system of the ancient trades unions and the guilds of the Middle Ages to enter into a brief discussion of the guild system. After the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire of the Germanic people, the beneficent reign of Charlemagne gave great impetus to the establishment of seats of learning, trade and industry. The central portion of Europe, then as now the territory of the Germanic nationalities, became the cradle of a new civilization. The country became more populous, handicrafts and arts and trade began to flourish and cities became established. There sprang into being a new sort of community-life altogether different from what heretofore had been known to exist. Tempered by the tenets of a religion that declared all men to be equal before God and taught the worship of a Deit common to all, who abolished

I the ancient notions of a difference in the ality of man before his Creator, this new mmunity life appears to have been a far appier adjustment of the social relations mankind than was ever dreamt of by the cient city dwellers. Those engaged in the fferent crafts and trades formed associaons wherein master, journeyman and aprentice were joined. It must be remembered at the Middle Ages are essentially the ~riod of house industry. The trade or callg was usually carried on in the house of the aster, who himself plied his trade and the urneymen and apprentices resided with m, and ate at the same table as members of ie household.


The guilds regulated the relation of master nd journeymen, the remuneration, hours of abor, and the quality and quantity of work › be performed. They provided certain They provided certain xed rules and regulations for the entering f apprentices and their elevation to the rank nd standing of journeymen at the compleon of the course of instruction and likewise jade provisions for the aid of those of their raft who were needy and in distress and in many instances provided for their member's ineral.

It may not be amiss to note here that the ustom of the ancient trades unions of havng a tutelary deity was followed by the uilds of the Middle Ages to this extent; that ll of them, from the noblest to the humblest, edicated their association to a tutelary aint. The masons for instance who followed he noble calling of church builders dediated their lodges to the two Saints John, he shoemakers theirs to Saint Crispin.

Very naturally, besides making rules and egulations for the conduct of the members f the guilds, these societies also undertook uch steps as seemed to them necessary for he proper protection of the trade or calling n which they were engaged. It is likely that hey were not always too scrupulous about the right of other persons, Berlepsch, in his history of the trades (German), states that in the year 1231, the Diet of Worms received so many complaints against them hat the Emperor Henry was compelled to issue a decree dissolving them. The decree in part reads as follows: "And equally do we dissolve and declare suppressed all and every craft, brotherhood or guild, whatever name it may bear." This decree was subsequently confirmed by the Emperor Frederick in the year 1232.

It seems, however, that the guilds were either too strongly established in the communities where they existed or that the Emperor Frederick was too much concerned with matters of greater importance to him than the suppression of trades guilds. Thus whilst the Emperor's decree took from them certain rights and privileges which hitherto had been ceded to them, or been usurped, they continued to exist. In the year 1275, Radolph of Habsburg, that judicious and kindly ruler of the Germans: whose descendants continue to this day[to preside over the destiny of Austria-Hungary, reinstated them to all their former rights and privileges.

From that time the guilds continue to exist with little molestation well into the beginning of the Nineteenth Century in the continental European states. There are no large and well concerted movements growing out of the activities of the medieval trades guilds recorded. As we have stated, the Middle Age is essentially the age of what for the want of a better expression we have termed "house industry," and in the continual struggle of the lawless aristocratic elements the little fellows were glad to give every aid and support to the rulers of the nation in' whose keeping was entrusted the conservation of peace and tranquillity at home. The civil law "through which Roman reason continued to rule the civilized world," began in ancient Rome, survived the Republic and Empire, and the very people that had conquered and destroyed the power of Rome favored the formation of trades unions and guilds and so long as they kept within the bounds of that law and supported the ruling powers, there was little objection made to their existence. This, happily, has nearly always been the attitude assumed by the guilds existing in Continental Europe. Deflections therefrom, with the exceptions herein noted, were of such small moment that a more extended discussion of them would only burden our record.

Before we proceed to a consideration of the trades union movement of this period in the British Isles, it is well to state an observation of a fact too frequently overlooked by those who write generally on the subject of this inquiry, but which is of considerable importance because it foreshadows a condition which subsequently developed.

The formation of the trades guilds, as we have stated, was predicated upon a basis far

nobler and more humane than any possible in ancient times. The new religion had made the relations of mankind more tender and the horizon of democracy had been enlarged to such an extent that within the brotherhood of their trade, master, journeyman, and apprentice could meet upon a common level, with the eventuality in view that there would be an advancement from the humble station of apprentice to that of master in the trade; and the beginner could with a degree of certainty measure the time when he would enjoy the full value of his work and take his place in the guild and community as one entitled to all the rights and privileges secured by his guild.

But with the increase of population and subsequent growth of opulence among the master craftsmen there also grew up a spirit of intolerance and separatism. Gradually the rules of the guilds were changed and it became more difficult for journeymen to obtain the master's degree, which was essential before they could begin to ply their trade on their own account. This led to the formation of journeymen guilds whose object besides conviviality was to obtain better pay and working conditions. It was at these organizations of journeymen that the authorities were prompted to direct their efforts of suppression. This will appear more clearly in the consideration of the British labor organizations of this period. merely desire to point out at this time that there is a certain affinity between the masters' craft guilds and journeymen's associations of this period, and the present capitalist manufacturers' organizations and trades unions.


We shall now proceed to a consideration of the development of the labor movement in the British Isles; but more particularly of England, because it is the classic land of modern trades unionism and for that reason its history is of peculiar importance to the subject of our inquiry.

The authorities are agreed that remnants of ancient trades unions existed in Great Britain long after they had been suppressed in Rome by the decree of the Roman Emperors. It is quite as likely that those remnants became extinct as the monastic orders multiplied and spread over the land and absorbed and centered within the confines of their monasteries what knowledge of the arts and crafts still existed in the islands.

The history of England, from the time the departure of the Romans from Britai to the time of Henry the Eighth, is almost e clusively written by members of one or the other monastic orders, so that for a period at least thirteen hundred years we have t rely upon monastic writers for whateve information is desired of the status of the working people. There is, however, litt to be gained from their perusal that woul shed light upon the subject under discussion Thomas Walsingham has left us a good ac count of Wat Tyler's Rebellion as the upris ing of the English workingmen in the year 1381 is commonly called, but that is about a we shall find to reward our search. But w are safe in assuming that free trades guild of masons and other crafts were in existence for many years prior to this noted dis turbance of economic relations in England.

Dr. Lujo Brentano, noted for his researc in the field of beneficial societies, points out that strikes in the building trades were particularly numerous. This would clear! indicate the existence of journeymen's assciations; and that the separation of master: and journeymen into distinct associations referred to in a preceding paragraph, had eve at so early a time in the economic develo ment of England already taken place.

During the three intervening centuries from the Norman conquest to the reign Henry the Second, England was graduall changing from a pastoral and agricultura country to a land teeming with men er gaged in industry, trade and commerce. TE: towns and cities were rapidly filling up wit: men attracted to them by the promise c more liberty and greater rewards of lab: than could be enjoyed or gotten from th feudal lords and barons securely entrenche in manor and behind castle walls. Ths: these men formed associations for mutu.. protection, support and advancement is t be accepted as a natural conclusion draw: from the well-known traits of the Englis race-they know what they want and fir means of getting it.

Organizations of journeymen became nurerous during the fourteenth century; how ever, it must not be assumed that the pr prietary classes stood idly by or submitte calmly to the demands of the workingme On the contrary laws were enacted and pro lamations issued to curb the upward te dency of wages and the improvement

working conditions and to suppress the existence of labor societies.

The class in control of the legislative powers of government during those times held to the notion that there need only be enacted a law forbidding the paying and taking of more wages than the rate established prior to that time and that would settle matters for good and all. Upon that mistaken conception of the power of legislation over an economic condition, the statutes of laborers were enacted in the years 1349 and 1350 (23 Edw., 3 and 25 Edw., 3).

These early statutes provided that every man and woman "of what condition he or she be, free of bond, able in body, and within the age of three score years, shall be bounden to serve him which shall so require him, under pain of imprisonment," and take no more than the customary rate of wages. By the act of 1350 the rate of wages was fixed for a certain period of the year for the more important trades and provisions made for the enforcement of the statute. The statute likewise restricted the right of the workingmen to locate in other than their home counties. It remained in force for more than two hundred years, but was frequently modified or extended as the respective situation seemed to require.

In 1383 the city authorities of London the city of London had its own officers, its own laws and its own system of jurisprudence founded upon the charters of several kings beginning with the Conqueror-issued a proclamation forbidding "all congregations, covins and conspiracies of workmen.' In 1387 the society of shoemakers seems to have run foul of this law. It is on record that a number of their members were carried off to Newgate (London's prison) for violatng it. The society of the saddlers appears to have gotten into trouble on account of this same proclamation for their society was suppressed in 1396.

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The statute of Henry the Sixth, enacted in 1424, was especially aimed at those organizations which were trying to evade the statutes of Edward the Third. It decreed that "the chapiters should not be holden," and that "those who cause them to be assembled and holden should be judged for felons." All other persons attending such assemblies were to be punished by fines, imprisonment, and ransom. This last provision most likely applied to those foreign workmen who at that time were frequently

brought from Continental Europe to assist in the building of churches and other monumental buildings.

In the year 1548 a statute was enacted forbidding all conspiracies and enjoining covenants of workingmen "not to make or do their work, but at a certain price or rate, or for other similar purposes." The punishments for violating the provisions of this statute were the loss of an ear, the pillory, and "to be taken as a man infamous."

The statute enacted in 1562, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, repealed much of the earlier legislation and consolidated the law. It is entitled "An Act containing divers orders for artificers, laborers, servants of husbandry and apprentices." Its leading provisions in reference to the particular matter under consideration are as follows:

"All persons able to work as laborers or artificers and not possessed of independent means or other employments, are bound to work as artificers or laborers upon demand. The hours of work are fixed, power is given to justices in their next session after Easter to fix the wages to be paid to all mechanics and laborers, elaborate rules are laid down as to apprenticeship, and it is provided that for the future no one is to set up, occupy, use or exercise any craft, mystery or occupation now used in England or Wales, unless he is serving or has served an apprenticeship of seven years. This statute remained in force practically for a long period of time. It was not formally repealed till the year 1875.

"Throughout the whole of the seventeenth and the greater part of the eighteenth century no act was passed for the general regulation of trade and labor comparable to it in importance. A consider

able number of acts, however, were passed bearing

more or less on trade offenses. They were for the most part acts relating to particular trades, and prohibited combinations in respect to the wages payable in those trades. Thus, for instance, in 1720 was passed 'An Act for regulating the journeymen tailors within the bills of morality.' This act declared all agreements between journeymen tailors for advancing their wages or for lessening their hours of work to be null and void, and subjected persons entering into any such agreement to be imprisoned with or without hard labor for two months. The hours of work were to be from 6.00 A. M. to 8.00 P. M., less an hour for dinner and one-half penny a day for breakfast. The wages were to be any sum not ex

ceeding two shillings a day from March 25th to June 24th, and for the rest of the year not exceeding one shilling and eight pence. The courts of quarter sessions had power to regulate these rates both as to fine and as to wages. Similar enactments were passed with respect to the woolen manufacturers in 1725, the hat trade in 1749, the silk weavers in 1777, and the paper trade in 1795. The last mentioned act fixes the hours of work at twelve with one hour for refreshment. It says nothing of wages but enters much into detail as to the suppression of the combinations which it prohibits." Stephen's History of Criminal Law of England.

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