The condition of the numerous agricultural laborers (who constitute one-third of the population) is, except in some regions, hard, and in places absolutely miserable.
In Tuscany, however, the prevalence of mezzadria, properly so called, has raised the laborers position.
The movement of emigration may be divided into two currents, temporary and permanentthe former going chiefly towards neighboring European countries and to North Africa, and consisting of manual laborers, the latter towards trans-oceanic countries, principally Brazil, Argentina and the United States.
The terms of agrarian contracts and leases (except in districts where mezzadria prevails in its essential form), are in many regions disadvantageous to the laborers, who suffer from the obligation to provide guarantees for payment of rent, for repayment of seed corn and for the division of products.
I remember when wages were sixty cents a day for laborers on this very road.
Millet, however, is still cultivated in the north of Italy, and is used as bread for agricultural laborers, and as forage when mixed with buckwheat (Sorghum saccaratum).
In Liguria, on account of the comparative rarity of large estates, agricultural laborers are in a better condition.
Com posed mainly of elements drawn from the Left, and dependent for a majority upon the support of the subversive groups of the Extreme Left, the formation of this cabinet gave the signal for a vast working-class movement, during which the Socialist party sought to extend its political influence by means of strikes and the organization of labor leagues among agricultural laborers and artisans.
The strikes and other economic agitations at this time may be divided roughly into three groups: strikes in industrial centres for higher wages, shorter hours and better labor conditions generally; strikes of agricultural laborers in northern Italy for better contracts with the landlords; disturbances among the south Italian peasantry due to low wages, unemployment (particularly in Apulia), and the claims of the laborers to public land occupied illegally by the landlords, combined with local feuds and the struggle for power of the various influential families.
In August there were strikes among the dock laborers of Genoa and the iron workers of Florence; the latter agitation developed into a general strike in that city, which aroused widespread indignation among the orderly part of the population and ended without any definite result.
In June and July 1907 there were again disturbances among the agricultural laborers of Ferrala and Rovigo, and a widespread strike organized by the leg/fe throughout those provinces caused very serious losses to all concerned.
In some cases there was foundation for the laborers claims, but unfortunately the movement got into the hands of professional agitators and common swindlers, and the leader, a certain Giampetruzzi, who at one time seemed to be a worthy colleague of Marcelin Albert, was afterwards tried and condemned for having cheated his own followers.
The landlords on their part organized an agrarian union to defend their interests and enrolled numbers of non-union laborers to carry on the necessary work and save the crops.
Conflicts occurred between the strikers and the independent laborers and the police; the trouble spread to the city of Parma, where violent scenes occurred when the labor exchange was occupied by the troops, and many soldiers and policemen, whose behaviour as usual was exemplary throughout, were seriously wounded.
C. Larrabee, Asbury and His Co-Laborers (2 vols., Cincinnati, 1853); H.
Upon the farm it was difficult to command hired service, almost the only farm laborers down to 185o, in the north, being young men who went out to work for a few years to get a little money to marry upon.
Of all agricultural laborers 9.4%Were females in 1900 ~ in 1880); but in the South the proportion was much greaterI 6-5 in the South Atlantic and 14-9 in the South Central division.
There was a very slight decline in the number of child laborers both in city and country, their total number in 1905 being 159,899 and in 1900 161,276.
So far as their earnings do not exceed 150 perannum, thefollowin~ classes are under the legal obligation to insure: laborers in mines quarries,dockyards,wharves, manufactories and breweries; bricklayers and navvies; post-office, railway, and naval and military servants and officials; carters, raftsmen and canal hands; cellarmen, warehousemen; stevedores; and agricultural laborers.
It has merely caused great bitterness among the Polish peasants, and the effect on the population is also counteracted by the fact that the large proprietors in purely German districts continue to import Polish laborers to work on their estates.
In the mass they were a body of patient laborers, tilling a rich soil, and hating all foreign lands and ways.
We read in a papyrus of a strike of starving laborers in the Theban necropolis who would not work until corn was given to them, and apparently the government storehouse was empty at the time, perhaps in consequence of a bad Nile.
By dismissing their servants in order to reduce expenditure, they have thrown great numbers of men out of employment, while many laborers and workmen are living very poorly and often suffer want.
The landless laborers, who might have been hired to supply the deficiency, were so reduced in numbers that they could command, if free competition prevailed, double and triple rates of payment, compared with their earnings in the days before the plague.
Statute of Laborers of 135f, which fixed rates for all wages practically identical with those of the times before the Black Death.
It proved impossible to carry out the scheme; the laborers were too many and too cunning to be crushed.
But enough oldfashioned landlords remained to keep up the struggle with the peasants to the end of the 14th century and beyond, an.d the number of times that the Statute of Laborers was re-enacted and recast was enormous.
There is a bare mention of the Statute of Laborers in Jack Cades ably drafted chapter of complaints.
The roads, which it was decided to make, were blocked by the laborers employed upon them, and by the stones, which the laborers were supposed to crush for their repair.
On the meeting of the new parliament Lord Salisburys government was defeated on an amendment to the address, demanding facilities for agricultural laborers to obtain small holdings for gardens and pasturethe policy, in short, which was described as three acres and a cow.
The peasants, no less than the industrial laborers, suffered from the absence of any capital laid by, which alone could have enabled them to improve their land or to face a time of bad harvests.
Laborers and small shop-keepers who formed the first nucleus of the reformed church were numerous enough to provide an army of martyrs, though too few to form a party.
One consequence of the agrarian agitations was the increased use of machinery and the reduction in the number of hands employed, which if it proved advantageous to the landlord and to the few laborers retained, who received higher wages, resulted in an increase of unemployment.
The condition of Sicilian laborers is also miserable.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the houses of its children ...
I hardly need refer now to the laborers in our Southern States who produce the staple exports of this country, and are themselves a staple production of the South.
I was wont to pity the clumsy Irish laborers who cut ice on the pond, in such mean and ragged clothes, while I shivered in my more tidy and somewhat more fashionable garments, till, one bitter cold day, one who had slipped into the water came to my house to warm him, and I saw him strip off three pairs of pants and two pairs of stockings ere he got down to the skin, though they were dirty and ragged enough, it is true, and that he could afford to refuse the extra garments which I offered him, he had so many intra ones.
On one of his estates the three hundred serfs were liberated and became free agricultural laborers--this being one of the first examples of the kind in Russia.