I SHALL conclude this, part with advice to the young cutter before he commences master.
The experience of cutting, and the habit of a shop, will qualify him, and become a motive to act for himself.
But he should mind, that with all the practice in a shop, without the experience of buying, and calculating the value of the different parts of the materials that compose the various articles manufactured in the trade, with due attention, he will still find himself at a loss:—For many a young master, for want of this experience, has spent hundreds of pounds of money, which he never had the trouble to earn; and all the recompense he received from the public was pity, or poor fellow!
Let the young beginner mind that every kind of leather is very dear; and that the best calf dressed leather at this time is on an average from 4d. to 6d. per ounce; wages very high, and house rent and taxes enormous; and if he vends his manufactured articles for what they cost, or less, then the consequence will be very soon felt; but often to his sorrow he discovers the evil too late.
Never through the avarice of gaining more trade than your neighbour, attempt~ at underselling; because it is a great evil to the trade, and no good to the public, and indeed ruin to all those that I have known to have engaged in it.
The cheap seller endeavours to procure the materials to answer his ends, and of course they must be of an inferior qua1ity,—The journeymen’s wages he must reduce, or employ very inferior hands; and this is a very great evil to the trade, and to the public.
For, all of the trade that have had years of experience, know very well that there is no workman on the seat capable to serve a shop as a regular, smooth hand, without being regularly engaged in the track, from ten to twelve years; and certainly such experience deserves to be rewarded.
But the men that are employed in the cheap work, endeavour to make up in time, what they lose in wages, by not putting into the articles half the work they ought to do, that they may bring their wages on a par with those that work on better work.—This evil does not end with this kind of work ~ but the men get into a habit, which they do not leave off very easily when employed on better work.—Hence, the community suffers as well as the trade.
It is the interest of the community to encourage good work in all trades, and in all things, as a public good.—And our trade requires it as much as any; for at best, it is but an imperfect handicraft, and the articles are exposed more to service, and more abuse, than any other of a similar nature.
Therefore, let the young beginner for his own interest, the general good of the trade, and the good of the community, discourage every species of underselling, and encourage good work, that he may be able to manufacture good articles, and consequently to have a fair price.
In cheap selling, I believe that it is an endeavour between the public and the seller, 'to bite the biter.'
After having a fair price for your manufactured articles, you will have enough to encounter with in the trade. There is no business that, has more to do with the various dispositions of mankind than ours. It is never free from their fancy, humour, and passions. And what is worse, many of those who give the most trouble, never intend to pay for the articles after being possessed of them.—The ravages of these swindling thieves (for no better epithet do they deserve) no trade feels more of than ours. How hurtful such frequent robberies must be to the industrious tradesman, whose family and himself depend on the produce of that labour which he is so shamefully swindled out of!
Therefore I would advise the young tradesman to pay particular
the real value of all the parts that are in the manufactured article, the
wages for making, and the reasonable profit on that article as a reward for
his judgement and labour, which he is entitled to, to support his situation in
society equal to other useful trades.
Always endeavour to procure the best tanned and curried leather that the market produces:— Though the trade has to lament that both are very defective at these times; and by the public these defects are charged to the trade, though no way concerned in them. Never recommend water-proof leather, as some prepared leather is termed; for it defeats its own ends, if it should really be so; because, if it prevents the water to penetrate in, it will likewise prevent the perspiration of the foot to enter out through the pores of the leather, but will confine the perspirable matter to the foot, which will always be as if in a water bath.
Therefore it must be very hurtful to those who are in general the most desirous for such leather, the Valetudinarians.