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“ This is to certify that we* - citizens and residents of the county of Mercer and State of New Jersey, and such as now are or who may hereafter become associated with us, do hereby associate ourselves together by the following certificate of association for the purpose hereinafter mentioned, under and by virtue of the provisions of an act of the Legislature of New Jersey, entitled 'An act to provide for the formation and regulation of co-operative societies of workingmen,' and to that end we do, by this, our certificate, designate and set forth :
"First The name of this society shall be · The Trenton Co-operative Society.'
"Second. The place in this State where the business of this society is to be conducted shall be in the city of Trenton, where the principal office shall be located.
“Third. The object of said society shall be to engage in the business of trading and dealing in goods, wares, merchandise and chattels, and of buying, settling, selling or leasing, and improving real estate and erecting buildings thereon, and to divide the profits thus realized among its members and others, in proportion as they may have contributed to the production of said profits by their capital, labor or custom.
“Fourth. The total amount of the capital stock is five thousand dollars ($5,000), divided into one thousand shares (1,000), of the par value of five dollars ($5.00) each, to be paid in installments of not less than fifty cents ($0.50) per week; the number of shares already subscribed for is one hundred and twenty (120), and the amount actually paid in cash on account of the same is one hundred and filty dol. lars ($150).
"Fifth. Any person, whose name has been approved by the Board of Directors, may become a member of this society by paying an entrance fee of twenty-five cents ($0.25), subscribing for one or more shares of capital stock, and signing an agreement to abide by the Articles of Association and whatever By-Laws and amendments thereto may hereafter be agreed upon at any regular meeting of the society.
"Sixth Profits shall be divided in the following order:
"1st. Five (5) por cent. of the net profit shall be set apart as a contingent or sinking fund until there shall have accumulated a sum equal to thirty (30) per cent. of the capital stock of the society.
"2d. Interest at the rate of six (6) per cent. per annum shall be paid quarterly upon the share capital of the society on all shares fully paid up at the beginning of the financial quarter.
"3d. If, after paying the sums provided for in paragraphs one (1) and two (2) of this section, the remaining profits of the business of any quarter shall be sufficient to pay a dividend of one or more full per cent. upon the full amount paid as wages during the quarter and the full amount of sales for the quarter, such dividend shall be paid. In the adjustment of the dividend on sales, the non-members shall receive one half (1) the rate of dividend paid to members. Any amount of undivided profits on the business of each quarter shall be carried forward to the credit of the next financial quarter.
"Seventh. Alterations or amendments may be made to this certificate of association and to the by-laws of this society at any regular meeting of the society, provided ten (10) full days' notice be given of such intended alteration or amendments, and two-thirds of those present vote in favor thereof.
"In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this sixteenth day day of March, A. D. 1885."
*Names of seven or more incorporators.
THE LAW AND THE LABORER.
PROGRESSIVE LABOR LEGISLATION IN NEW JERSEY.
Distance alone lends enchantment to that view which gives the "good old times" an idyllic character, for the nearer we approach and examine them from the standpoint of what is now considered even the minimum of comfort, the more uninviting do they appear. The present world could not live that way now. The material progress of our time has increased the conveniences of life a thousand fold, and added to the happiness of a greatly augmented population; there has been a general forward movement socially, even though the rate of progress in individual cases has been disproportionate. And this has been most marked within a comparatively recent period. The time when there were no railroads, no telegraph, no sewing machines, no kerosene oil nor gas—the day of the "tallow dip," when even matches had not come into use, hardly yet belongs to history. The lumbering, but romantic, stagecoach ran far into our century, while there are still those among us who sailed on our first steamboate. That was the day of magnificent distances, when it took as much time to get over the ninety odd miles in our State, between New York and Philadelphia, as it does now to perform the journey between the metropolis and the Mississippi. The beginnings of our excellent system of free schools were witnessed by Jereeymen who have but just passed middle age. The newspaper reader is really a creature of modern birth. In 1810 only eight weekly newspapers were published in this State; in 1885 New Jersey boasts of over two hundred local “dailies" and “weeklies," while many thousands consider as necessary as their cup of tea or coffee the regular budget of news served by the New York or Philadelphia press, arriving either by train or through the post office, which is one of the greatest of modern improvements. It was only in 1845 that an act of Congress led to the introduction of the present system of postal rates and stamps. The recipient of letters forty years ago paid the postage, which varied according to the distance and number of sheets of paper sent, the lowest rate being six cents for "every letter composed on a single sheet of paper, not exceeding thirty miles," and so on to four hundred miles, when twenty. five cents were charged; for double letters, double rates, etc. The expense was so heavy as to make correspondence a luxury for the great mass of the people, the number of letters sent being very small in proportion to the number of inhabitants. When the national government had got under way, only seventy-five post offices were in existence, and of these New Jersey had but six. Now nearly every hamlet in our State has its daily delivery. Yet less than three-quarters of a century ago the mail was considered “on time” when delivered once a week. 'Our mail," observes an enthusiastic chronicler of 1818, “is now transported with uncommon rapidity; daily
between all the great towns and commercial cities; twice a week to the capitals of each State which are not commercial, and once a week to other places."
The main post road ran through a sparsely-settled country, passing not even all of the half dozen New Jersey towns, which contained but a few hundred houses each. The great bulk of our population then and long after continued to follow agriculture as a pursuit—"exclusively an agricultural State" is the expression frequently met with in official documents down to the '40's. The manufacturing enterprises were nowhere worthy of the name. At the close of the preceding century a few iron and shoe factories, tanyards, grist, saw and paper mills completed the infant industries of that day. The attempt which the "Society for the Encouragement of Useful Manufactures" made at the Great Falls* of the Passaic, had proved a discourag. ing failure, because, as was said, "the whole thing was premature." This state of affairs continued up to the time when the restrictive commercial policy, pursued by our government during the years which immediately preceded and witnessed the war of 1812, almost entirely prevented the importation of foreign goods and necessarily stimulated home production. Here, as elsewhere, every effort was made "to encourage domestic manufactures,"+ which, with the return of peace and the reopening of our ports to commerce, had a hard struggle for existence, in “a market inundated with goods of British manufacture,"I until relief came with the various tariff acts, culminating in the legislation of 1828-the famous "tariff of abominations," as it was called. But now, with the advent of railroads, which soon followed the introduction of labor-saviog machinery, the magnificent inventions of Watt and Arkwright and Crompton and Cartwright, began the development of the factory system, the modern industrial period, although somewhat later in New Jersey than elsewhere.
A generation had not yet passed away since the time of which it was written, that “ most of the Jersey) families in the country and many in the populous towns are clothed in strong, decent homespun." That probably was a rose colored view of a superficial observer and referred only to the well-to do classes. The condition of the artisan and laboring part of the population was anything but agreeable at the close of the
t'An act to ascertain the state of manufactures in this state" was passed in 1814 and an incomplete census taken under it, the returns giving information only concerning cotton and woolen manufacturing establismenis and sheep. Of the thirteen counties, which were inhabited by 250,000 people, Cape May and Hunterdon did not report. In the remaining there were 234,861 sheep. 20 cotton mills, 66 woollen factories, and 140" carding machines for country business;" the total spindles in use did not equal in number those now employed in a single one of our filty odd mills.
The act is interesting because it was the first attempt at an industrial census of New Jersey:
“Whereas, it is of great importance that information should be obtained as to the state and extent of the manufacturing establishments in this state and the increase of the same, therefore, etc., "1. That it shall be the duty of the assessor of the several townships
to take an account and enumeration of all manufacturing establishments within their respective townships working in wool, cotton, fax, hemp or either: all manufactories of glass, iron or brass wire and ironmongery, and all carding machines for carding wool for hire, which shall be used, owned or carried on by any person within this state; and the said assessor shall, in taking the account and enumeration aforesaid, procure, as far as practicable, information as to the amount or extent of the several articles manufactured as aforesaid in each manufactory with an account of the machines or machinery used in the same," etc.
From this time on many special acts were passed to encourage domestic manufactures" by incorporating companies. The first general manufacturing act was enacted in 1816, but repealed three years later It allowed ten or more persons "to form a company for the purpose of manufacturing woolen, cotton or linen goods, or for the purpose of making glass, or for the purpose of making from ore bar iron, anchors, mill iruns, steel, Tail rods, hoop-iron and ironmongery, sheet-co per, sheet lead or red lead." The next general law Wasihat of 1846; the third was passed in 1249, which does not vary greatly from our present "act concerning corporations"
Gov. Dickerson's annual message, 1816.
eighteenth century, * and their style of living did not improve until the system of household industries gave way to the factory and factory operative. There were no large communities anywhere in the State; the means of the richest were limited, their wants few, while a proportionately large working class resulted in considerable surplus labor. Many of the colored population were still slaves, employed as domestic servants, farm hands and mechanics; and
made the wage-earner's lot especially hard. It was far more blighting to free labor than the competition of convicts or of pauper immigration in our day. It is true that our lawgivers comparatively early (in 1798) began to discourage it, but no attempt was made at its suppression till 1801, when, on the 15th of February, "an act for the gradual abolition of slavery” became a law. This was supplemented by the legislation of 1820 (February 24th), extending its scope and providing that children born of a slave within the State since February 4th, 1804, should be free at a certain age, which was 21 years for females and 25 years for males. † The education of the slaves was also encouraged. I Yet at this time and long afterwards, the local papers were full of advertisements, closing with the stereotyped direction, "for terms apply to the printer" (editor), and announcing " for sale": "Fifteeen years of a negro boy, near 13 years of age "; "a likely negro wench twenty-five years of age," and the like. Another class of advertisements appearing even more frequently than the preceding, were the rewards offered for runaway slaves & Nor was it less common for the sheriff, who had levied on a judgment debtor's property, to make a return like the following: “By virtue of the within writ I have seized and taken a wench named Rachel, two beddings, one cow,” || &c.
* In the low and dingy rooms which he called his home were wanting many articles of adornment and of use now to be found in the dwellings of the poorest of his class. What a stove was he did not know, coal he had never seen, matches he had never heard of. He rarely tasted fresh meat as often as once a week, and paid for it a much higher price than his posterity (?). Everything which ranked as a staple of life was very costly. * * * If the food of an artiran would now be thought coarse, his clothes would be thought abominable. A pair of yellow buckskin or leather breeches, a checked shirt, & red flannel jacket, a rusty felt hat cocked up at the corners, shoes of neat's-kin, set off with huge buckles of brass and a leathern apron comprised bis scanty wardrobe. The leather besmeared with grease to keep it soft and flexible.
r were apprentired to neighboring tradesmen. His daughters went out to service-McAlister'History of the People of the U S., Vol I.. page 96
The price of wheat flour is now less than the average price at any time during the past one hundred years.
+ Until then the colored person remained the servant of the owner of the mother. The owner was compelled to file a certificate of the birth within nine months thereaiter Slarery existed in this state up to the time of the Proclamation of Emancipation. In 1860 the United States census returns reported 8 slaves in New Jersey. In 1850, the number was 236; in 1840, 674; in 1830, 2,254; in 1820, 7,557; in 1810, 10,851; in 1800, 12,4.2; in 1790, 11,428.
In the early part of the century many "African schools” were organized. 2 * Fifty Dollars Reward.--Ran away from the subscriber on the night of the twenty-sever of April last past, a negro man named Silas, about 27 years old, about 5 feet 9 inches high, stout made fellow much starred with the King's evil under his jaws; bred by David B., of Upper Freehold and sold to his son, who sold him to Robert C., of whom I purchased. Had on when he absconded a short coat and trowsers of dark fulled linsey, striped vest, hat castor about half worn. He is a hypocritical, artful rascal, pretends to be a Methodist, carries his hymu book and is often singing. He was seen at David and John Baird's the first of the present week, and I presume is harbored in that neighborhood. Whoever takes up said negro and delivers him to the subscriber shall receive the above named reward. ** Belle Vue, opposite
GEORGE F." “New Brunswick, May 16, 1816."
MIDDLESEX COMMON PLEAS. June term, 1814. The following bill of sale of a negro, brought from San Domingo, made at New Brunswick in 1829, is in our possession:
"Kpowall men by these presents that I. Staats Van Deursen. of the city of New Brunswick. in the State of New Jersey, for the sum of two hundred dollars in hand paid, have and do bargain and sell to James Bishop, of the city and State a foresaid, a certain negro man named
All this appears to as in this more enlightened age anything but humane, yet it reflected the spirit of the times, when all manual labor was regarded as "not respectable " and laborers but the "mud-sills of society;" when the
UNFORTUNATE POOR were considered criminals. By the common law, the creditor, having stripped the debtor of his property and the claim remaining unsatisfied, might throw him into prison and keep him there for life unless he found means to discharge his obligation. "If a person,” so runs the opinion in an early New York report, “ be taken in execution and lie in prison for debt, he is not to be provided with meat, drink or clothes, but he must live on his own or the charity of others; and if no one will relieve him, let him die."* Such was the inhuman law of imprisonment for debt, which from the earliest times continued to oppress the poor and unfortunate in our State, gradually modified in its ferocity, till it was finally abolished in 1842+ No class felt its hardship more than the mechanic and laborer, and no change has contributed more to their progressive amelioration than the final enactments, which rendered unnecessary the periodical clearing out of jails under acts for “the relief of poor distressed prisoners for debt,” or for “the relief of insolvent debtors," which filled our statute books for more than a century. The unlucky workingman who had met with an accident soon found himself in prison, a large portion of whose unhappy inmates were debtors, held in bondage and idleness for very small sums of money and, in many cases, purely out of spite. As a means of collecting debts, this remedy was futile; for the victims, often the poorest laborers, deprived of the use of their time, were only plunged deeper into misfortune. It accustomed them to idlene88 as well as being a most fruitful parent of crime by throwing them into the society of criminals. This law was not even a respecter of sex, for female imprisonment for debt was not prohibited till 1818. Debtors were really in a worse plight than criminals awaiting trial, who, in most cases, had the privilege of being released on bail—a favor not extended to the former. I Their only relief lay in the many temporary "general jail delivery " acts, whose passage was owing not so much to any enlarged humane feeling as to the fact that with increased population and trade
Dick or Richard, aged about twenty-seven years. To have and to hold the said negro man to him, the said James Bishop. his executors, administrators and assigas forever, which said negro man I have this day delivered into his possession. And I do warrant and will defend the said James Bishop in the peaceable possession of the said negro man against me and all persons whatsoever. Witness my hand and seal this fourteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twenty-nine. "Sealed and delivered in
"STAATS VAN DEURSEN. presence of
"ABM. S. VAN DEURSEN." * By our early acts (1733, etc.) the jailer must permit the prisoner to "send for beer, ale, victuals, and other necessary food."
t By act of Legislature. The constitution of 1811 forbade its re-enactment.
I A little over half a century ago a story, entitled "The Law of Arrest-& tale from facts," went the rounds of the press, See Newark Advertiser, May 14, 1832. An Hamburg merchant, who had come over to Portsmouth, England, to collect a £100 debt from an English sea captain, suddenly found himself thrown into prison, on the oath of his debtor, for an alleged debt of £10,000 The German naturally was considerably put out to find him-elf in jail; and the story runs: "Turning to a lawyer, whom the devil had deserted and who was now with the victims of his profession, he observed. Dey tell me dat in England a mun be called innoshent till he be proved guilty; but here I am, because one carrion of a shailor, who owesh me 500 pounts, takes an oath that I owesh him 10,00) --here am I on that scoundrel's single oath, clapped up into a prishon! Ish dat a man's being innoshent till he's provel guilty, sare?' "Sir, grimly said the 14wyer. 'you are thinking of criminal cases. But if a man be unfortunate enough to get into debt, that is quite a different thing. We are harder to poverty than to crime.' Bot, mein Gott, ish dat jusdice?' 'Justice! pooh! it is the law of arrest,' said the lawyer, turning on his heel."