viduals who were daily violating Acts of Parliament, Acts which, by a long course of cunning policy,” they had contrived to convert into “the most oppressive and unjust monopoly known to the trade 鏉窞榫欏嚖淇℃伅璁哄潧 of this Kingdom鈥攁 monopoly which,” Sandars goes on to declare, “there is every reason to believe compels the public to pay, in one shape or another, 锟?00,000 more per annum than they ought to pay.”
The agents of the two companies not only agreed between themselves 鏉窞鎸夋懇淇℃伅缃?what charges they would impose but, autocrats as they were, they established a despotic sway over the traders. They set up, says Francis, “a rotation by which they sent as much or as little as suited them, and shipped it how or when they pleased. They held levees, attended by crowds who,鏉窞妗戞嬁瓒虫荡 admitted one by one, almost implored them to forward their goods. One firm was thus limited by the supreme wisdom of the canal managers to sixty or seventy bags a day. The effects were really disastrous; mills stood still for want of material; machines were stopped for lack of food. Of 5000 鏉窞鎸夋懇濂藉湴鏂?feet of pine timber required in Manchester by one house, 2000 remained unshipped from November, 1824, to March, 1825.”
Merchants whose timber was thus delayed in transit were fined for allowing it to obstruct the quays; and Sandars tells of one who paid 锟?9 鏉窞鍏荤敓spa in fines on this account during the course of two months. It was less costly and more convenient to leave the delayed timber where it was, and pay the fines, than to keep moving it to and fro between quay and timber yard; though the effect鈥攅specially as the imports of timber increased鈥攚as 鏉窞涓嬪煄鍖轰笣琚滀細鎵€ to block up, not only the quays, but the neighbouring streets, which thus became almost impassable for carts and carriages.
Corn and other commodities had often to be kept back eight or ten days on account of a lack of vessels. It sometimes happened that commodities brought 鏉窞婊ㄦ睙楂樼骇spa浼氭墍across the Atlantic 鏉窞鎸夋懇缃?in three weeks were detained in Liverpool for six weeks before they could be sent on to Manchester. The agents would not carry certain kinds of merchandise or particular descriptions of cotton at all. Alternatively they would tell a trader: “We took so much for 鏉窞妗戞嬁鍝噷濂統ou yesterday, and we can take only
so much for you to-day.” “They limited the quantity,” says Francis, “they appointed the time, until the difficulties of transit became a public talk and the abuse of power a public trouble. The Exchange of Liverpool resounded with merchants’ complaints;鏉窞涓濊鍏艰亴 the counting-houses of Manchester re-echoed the murmurs of manufacturers.”
To avoid serious delays either to raw materials or to manufactured articles the traders were often forced to resort to road transport “because,” says Sandars, “speed and certainty as to delivery 鏉窞瓒虫荡搴?are of the first importance”; and he adds on this point, “Packages of goods sent from Manchester, for immediate shipment at Liverpool, often pay two or three pounds per ton; and yet there are those who assert that the difference of a few hours in speed can be no object. The merchants 鏉窞榫欏嚖闃佽鍧?know better.”
The example already set in so many different parts of the country in the provis