Every one who has taken the trouble to inquire into the actual state of society a few centuries ago knows that the condition of the laborer was about this: He lived in a hovel with hardly any thing which we would call a window, with the fire (if he ever had any) in the middle of the building, or perhaps in a chimney-piece at one end. This hovel he occupied in common with the pigs and poultry. His staple article of food was a kind of black bread which a negro of to-day would hardly offer his dog, with a few vegetables from the neighboring garden. The clothing of himself and wife was coarse, scanty, and dirty almost in the same proportion.
Simon Newcomb, Principles of Political Economy (1886), p. 514.