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The Machine Breakers Author(s): E. J. Hobsbawm Reviewed work(s): Source: Past & Present, No. 1 (Feb., 1952), pp. 57-70 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Past and Present Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/649989 . Accessed: 22/12/2011 12:07
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Perhaps we should distinguish views and assumptions. I think. however unpalatable. that the workers must be taught not to run their heads againsteconomic truth. and sympathise with the long rear-guard action which all but a minority of favoured workers fought against the new system.' Such misconceptions are. to the pressure of misery. Yet such a study is badly needed. blindly and gropingly. that the early labour movement did not know what it was doing. of both. can still describe Luddism simply as a " pointless. that strong-arm methods in labour action are less effective than peaceful negotiation. About this form of early working-class struggle misconceptions are still widely held. too far into the past. and of views about labour and trade union history formulated in the late i9th century. but merely reacted. who has contributed more than most to our knowledge of it. even by specialist historians. intellectually and organisationally very narrow-the movements of the long economic boom 57 . The tacit assumptions are wholly debatable. however.The Machine Breakers E. In much of the discussion of machine-breaking can still detect the assumption one of i9th century middle-class economic apologists. but we must accept its pointlessness and its inevitable defeat. chiefly by the Webbs and their Fabian followers. industrial jacquerie. obscure a good deal of history. published in I950. Within their limits. passes over the endemic rioting of the i8th century with the suggestion that it was the overflow of excitement and high spirits. In the conscious views there is obviously a good deal of truth. J. due to the persistence of views about the introduction of machinery elaborated in the early i9th century. Both. Thus they make impossible any real study of the methods of working-class struggle in the preindustrial period. so familiar from 1815-I848.-and they were. We can understand. The conscious views of most students may be summed up as follows: the triumph of mechanisation was inevitable. as animals in the laboratory react to electric currents. frenzied. Thus an excellent work. of Fabians and Liberals."and an eminent authority. A very cursory glance at the labour movement of the i8th and early i9th century shows how dangerousit is to preject the picture of desperate revolt and retreat. Hobsbawm TIME TO RECONSIDER THEPROBLEM MACHINE-WRECKING OF IT IS PERHAPS in the early industrial history of Britain and other countries.
a normal means of putting pressure on employers or putters-out.4 In the first place. under certain conditions. coveredseveraldistinct types of machinebreaking. both before and after.for the outbreaks of I8II-I3. rioting and the destructionof propertyin general (or. treated as a single phenomenon for administrativepurposes. and were believed to require more military force for their suppression. Darvall3has done well to remind us that the I2. though it incidentally destroyed a fair amount of manufacturing equipment too. which for the most part existed independently of each other. Much of this success has been obscured by subsequent defeats: the strong organisationof the West of England woollen industry lapsed completely."6 This sort of wrecking was a traditional and established part of industrial conflict in the period of the domestic and manufacturing system. the craft societies of Belgian woollen workers. not to revive until the rise of general unions during the first world war. This is only natural. in modern terms. as a means of coercing their employers into granting them concessions with regard to wages and other matters.2 Yet there is really no excuse for overlooking the power of these early movements. but is. were neither negligible nor wholly unsuccessful. Indeed. at any rate in Britain.5 The first sort implies no special hostility to machines as such. the series of farm-labourers' revolts which the Hammonds baptised the 'last labourers' rising' in I830 was essentially a major offensive against farm-machinery. sabotageand direct action). As has been justly noted the Nottinghamshire. and Wiltshire in I826. strong enough to win virtual collective agreements in the I76os. To most non-specialists. In the second place the rapid defeat of Luddism led to a widespread belief that machine-breakingnever succeeeded. and the early 58 . There are at least two types of machine-breaking. Leicestershire and Derbyshire Luddites " were using attacks upon machinery. which begins. and unless we realise that the basis of power lay in machine-wrecking. and of other years in this period. Yet one's naturalpreoccupationwith the Luddites tends to in confuse the discussion of machine-breaking general. the terms ' machine-wrecker' and Luddite are interchangeable.for instance some of the destruction in Lancashire in i81i. attracted more public attention than any others. Luddism. we shall not make sense of them. Mr. whether new or old.which ended with the Napoleonic wars. Let us consider the first point.000 troops deployed against the Luddites greatly exceeded in size the army which Wellington took into the Peninsula in iSo8. lapsed after I790 and until the early I900os trade unionism was for practicalpurposes dead. as a serious phenomenon (if it can be properly said to have a beginning) sometime in the I7th century and continues until roughly I830. quite apart from the wrecking incidental to ordinaryriots against high prices or other causes of discontent .
(The fact that organised unions hardly as yet existed in the trades concerned. In none of these cases . and cutting and destroying the pieces in the looms and the utensils of the trade. finished goods. It was not directedonly againstmachines. and during the early phases of. Again. Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. as well as in Devon by weavers " breaking into the houses (of masters and blacklegs). . or even the private property of employers. Thus. Nor does the fact that.'2 Again. cut down their trees.stages of factoryand mine. which were essentially part of a movement to resist wage-reductions. Thus in three months of agitation in I802 the Wiltshire shearmen burned hay-ricks.15 The history of the frame-breakingin the East Midlands hosiery trade is too well-known to need re-telling.clothiers complained to Parliamentin 1718 and I724 that weavers " threatened to pull down their houses and burn their work unless they would agree with their terms. depending on what sort of damage these were most sensitive to.and others might be mentioned . but also against raw material. as well as attackingand destroyingtheir mills. they used the technique of wrecking."8 The disputes of I726-7 were fought. of course.'4 As late as I83I the strikers at Bedlington (Durham) wrecked windinggear. on pain of destroying wool. which won the men a sizeable wage-rise. and coal set on fire in the riots of I765.was there any question of hostility to machines as such. (For the most part. Thus in the Northumberland coal-field the burning of pit-head machinery was part of the great riots of the I740S. in Somerset.and three years later anxious employers in the same area were writing to London for protectionagainstthe men's demands that no outsiders should be employed. .to take merely the West of England textile trades . barns and kennels of unpopularclothiers. destroyed loads of cloth. where coal-miners had reached the point of aiming their demands against employers of labour. which won the miners the freedom to choose their employers at the end of the annual contract. does not greatly affect the argument. Wrecking was simply a technique of trade unionism in the period before. throughout the century. spoiling of wool. machines were smashed. The greattextile workers'riot at Melksham in I738 began with workers " cut(ting) all the chains in the looms belonging to Mr. the Industrial Revolution.7 The prevalence of this ' collective bargaining by riot' is wellattested. 13 Acts of Parliament against the burning of pits were passed at intervals through the later part of the century. with 59 . and the profiteers believed to be responsible for them). on account of his lowering of the Prices "10o.16 Certainlythe wrecking of machines was the most important weapon used in the famous riots of I778 (the ancestors of Luddism). Coulthurst . miners' riots were still directed against high food-prices."9 They ended in something like a collective contract.1' And so on.
rented out the looms to knitters " and through them acquire entire control of their workmen. he reported. as in the cloth industry.than when constantpressurehad to be maintained: when wages and conditions changed suddenly. directly or indirectly. 60 . rather than where. on the sale of their labour-power to them. Most of the firms. wrecking acquired new functions). concerned with disputes which arose from the typical social relationship of capitalist production. against comparatively small local employers. as among textile workers. however." In a domestic system of industry. when intermittent pressure had to be put on masters. as in coal-mines. or single men.the coming of the Industrial Revolution. Where. Since this firm employed mainly men who owned their own looms. through the intermediate forms so typical of the domestic system of production. the destruction of wool or cloth might well be preferable to that of looms.19 The framework knitters. it suggests itself naturally. barns and houses might seriously affect his profitand-loss account.would be pretty effective. were now striking against the firm of J. destruction of property. in any case.18 The value of this technique was obvious. takes time to learn . It is worth noting that riot and wrecking of this type seem more frequent in i8th century Britain. not easy to conceive of any other method which could guarantee an effective stoppage. both the raw materialand the finishedarticlewere expensive. as among miners and seamen. with its 'bourgeois ' Revolution behind it.20 But in semi-rural industries even the burning of the employer's ricks.or when annual contractscame up for simultaneousrenewal. in the main. Yet it was. to more or less fully-fledged wage-workers.'7 Certainlythe movements of our weavers and miners are very different from the superficially trade-union like activities of journeymen's accociations in many more old-fashioned continental areas. The habit of solidarity. It was more useful. and George Ray. where small groups of men. and of ensuring the essential solidarity of the workers. Perhaps the most effectual manner in which the combinationcould coerce them was their former manner of carrying on war by destroying their frames. they were vulnerable to a simple withdrawal of work.even where. work scattered in numerous villages and cottages. entry into the market had to be steadily restricted. than in i8th century France. that between employing entrepreneurs and men who depended. It might be used by all sorts of people. though this relationship existed as yet in primitive forms. say. from independent small producers. it is. which is the foundation of effective trade unionism. both as a means of putting pressure on employers. The first point is admirablyput in a letter from the Town Clerkof Nottingham in I814. and was entangled with the relationships of small independent production.or the constant threat of destruction. Moreover. But the technique had anotheradvantage.
' achieved the same purpose. among badly-paid men and women without strike-funds.It takes even longer to become part of the unquestioned ethical code of the working-class.21 was only one method.).22 Even much later mass demonstrations and meetings were an essential part of a labour dispute . which is generally regarded as the expression of working-class hostility to the new machines of the industrial revolution. bureaucratic strikes were impossible.26 Yet three observations ought to be made. cheering and cat-calling.even thoughnot elevatedinto doctrines. higher than could normally be expected at that period of industrialisation. Machinewrecking was one of the methods of counter-acting these weaknesses. or the blast-furnace of a Welsh iron-works out. Everyone is familiar with the bands of militants or strikers from one works or locality. with local or sectional exceptions. if we consider the problem as it . intimidation and violence. Enlightened. had neverthelessto form part of the methodsof struggle. there were sound technical reasons why they should be so. strikes of modern dockers another. (R." We must now turn to the second sort of wrecking. is an extreme conservativeamong union leaders-E. workshops and factories by a mixture of appeals and force (though few workers needed much persuasion in the early stages of the fight). (i) The first point will be clear. First. argues a high level of ' trade union morale '. Moreover. be no doubt of the great feeling of opposition to new machines.not only to overawe the employers. But the whole complex of activities which i8th and early I9th century administrators called ' Riot. but to keep the men together and in good heart. J. for instance. So long as the winding gear of a Northumbrian pit was broken. If British weavers in the i8th century (or American lumber-men in the 20th) were a proverbially riotous body of men. the danger of blacklegging is always acute. The fact that scattered framework knitters in the East Midlands could organise effective strikes against employing firms. The workers could only fight by means of demonstrations. Lastly. touring the whole region. The periodic riots of the North-eastern seamen. calling out villages. as a child. orderly. H. are a good example23. of course. this hostility was neither so indiscriminate nor so specific as has often been assumed. Luddism and sabotage. there was at least a This temporary guarantee that the plant could not be operated. writes Rinaldo Rigola25" that in those pre-socialisttimes the workingclass was a crowd. Second. a well-founded sentiment. especially laboursaving ones. lived through the transitionof a woollen industry " It is necessary to remember" from domestic to factory system.24 Clearly the Luddite technique was well-adapted to this stage of industrial warfare. in the opinion of no less an authority than the great Ricardo. shouting. it was surprisingly weak in practice. including many manufacturers. it was by no means confined to workers. at the times when hiring contracts were fixed. not an army. There can. but was shared by the great mass of public opinion. On this point too we have some confirmation from a moderntradeunion leacer who. and not everywhere applicable.
the resistance to the machine was quite consciously resistance to the machine in the hands of the capitalist.faced the worker himself. against wearers of printed calicoes they wrecked looms against rate-cutting in the I76os. .for instance the building trade.27: but the strategic objective of these movements was the same. the control of the labour market. Nor should we read too much into it. the former organised against the flooding of the labour market by extra workers. The men of I760 were still a good way from understanding the nature of the economic system they were about to face. It was thus not to the machine as such that he objected. depended on circumstances. and larger ones. Among printers. which they destroyed. suitable only for use in factories. However. but with the practical twin problems of preventing unemployment and maintaining the customary standard of life. as they left the position of the hewer untouched. Around i8oo the western weavers and shearmen were simultaneously in action. against immigrants working below the rate in I736. for the most part. it is clear that theirs was not a simple fight against technical progress as such. for instance the introduction of shot-firing. since it threatened wholesale down-grading. where the change did not disadvantage the workers absolutely. Restriction of output operated by workers under private enterprise is a different matter altogether. which was more familiar with social relations of production which anticipated those of industrial capitalism this kind of behaviour is less unexpected than elsewhere. we hear of no important movement to resist technical change. Conversely. provoked a fight. which included non-monetary factors such as freedom and dignity. Nevertheless. . though pitmen were proverbiallyultra-conservative and riotous. He was concerned. indeed. the adoption of power-pressesafter 1815 seems to have caused little trouble. organisations or outbreaks. the latter against machines. or from elsewhere. It can and does occur in wholly unmechanised industries . as well as wages. and twenty without them " in I675 . taken as an isolated .28 Yet their object. The Lancashire machine-wreckersof I778-80 distinguished clearly between spinning-jennies of 24 spindles or less. Whether this threat came from the machine. nor does it depend on overt movements. not with technical progress in the abstract. which they spared.29 Between the early i8th and the mid-19th century mechanisationand new devices greatly increased the productivity of the coal-miner. but to any threat to these . as near in 1719. The Spitalfields weavers rioted against machines by which " one man can do as much . we find no special hostility to machines. was the same. Nor is there. any fundamental difference in the attitude of workers towards machines.30 No doubt in Britain. It was the later revolution in type-setting which.above all to the whole change in the social relations of production which threatened him. In some cases.
even after partial mechanisation.33 In the normal working of a private enterprise economy the reasons which led workers to distrust new machines in the i8ios remain persuasivein the I950s. they were lucky enough to possess a specialised market which was not affected by machine-production. which probably destroyed most threshingmachines in the areas affected. By the time distress recurred. to the plan to ' capture' them for workers enjoying trade union standards and conditions. more generally after the middle I89os.32 Nevertheless there are plenty of examples of the straightforward opposition to machines which threaten to create unemployment or to downgrade labour even to-day. for the mythology of the pioneer age of industrialism. Wadsworth and Mann have reduced the riots of I8th century Lancashire to more modest proportions. of course. (ii) The argument so far may help to explain why. has magnified the riots which actually occurred.a more difficult task .the strategic moment for opposing the new devices was past. One reason why the wrecking of the shearmenwas so much more persistent and serious than that of others was that these highly skilled and organised key-men retained much control over the labour market. capable only of random destruction of their competitor. but also .34 In fact we have record of only a few really widespreadwrecking movements such as that of the farm-labourers.37 The Lancashirewreckings of I778-80 and 1811 were confined to limited areas and limited numbers of mills. the old hand operatives stood outside. (The great East Midland movements of I8II-I2 were not. as hand-bootmakers and tailors did in the I87os and 8os). As has been pointed out38 most machines tended to be introduced in times of rising prosperity. This policy seems to have been adopted patchily after the I84os31 and during the Great Depression. no longer of imposing themselves on the machine. after all. not fully mobilised. directed against new machinery at all). (Unless.35the specialised campaigns of the small body of shearmen in Britain and elsewhere. The fact is not widely recognised. It is true that in most industries the object of preventing the introduction of undesirable machines has given way. with the coming of full mechanisation. the resistance to machines was so small. while taking all practicable steps to minimise technological unemployment. as we have seen. This is not only due to the fact that some mechanisationwas regarded as harmless.problem. New workersserving them had already been recruited.36 and perhaps the riots against power-looms in I826. which men like Baines and Samuel Smiles reflected.as heroes. in the earlier and later phases of industrialism.39 (iii) The mythology of the pioneer industrialistshas also obscured the overwhelming sympathy for machine-wreckers in all parts of 63 . could be for a time dissipated. when employment was improving and opposition. The men of Manchester liked to think of themselves not only as monuments of enterprise and economic wisdom.
The fully developed capitalist entrepreneurs formed a small minority. Hence perhapsthe proverbial lack of business success of inventors.the larger the capital that has to be sunk in a machine."45 Nor is this surprising. The belief that he must inevitablyfavourtechnical progressas a matterof self-interest has no foundation. though doubtless in its quiet way.). even if the experience of French capitalism. the farmers have exposed the same for the purpose of being destroyed. the later. and of later British capitalism were not available. In Nottinghamshire not a single Luddite was denounced. getting wealthier and more comfortable all the time." he argued " are as much entitled to the protection of the Law as any other Description of Property. and outside such industries as cotton. that those to whom it appealed in early i9th century Europe made up the majority of the population.the population. the savage jungle pursuit which doomed the weak to bankruptcy and wage-earning status." " Machines.42 The merchants and woollen manufacturers of Rossendale themselves passed resolutions against power-looms some years before the men smashed them.43 During the I830 labourers' rising the Clerk to the Magistrates in Hindon."44and Lord Melbourne had to send a sharply-worded circular to Magistrates who had " in many instances recommended the Discontinuance of the Employment of Machines used for thrashing out Corn and for other Purposes. accumulation and technical revolution.where the cloth-finishing middlemen and small masters were known to -the real terrorists of I802 could sympathise with the shearmen41 not be discovered. Quite apart from the possibility of making more money without machines than with them (in sheltered markets etc. reported that " where the mobs have not destroyed the machinery. though plenty of small mastersmust have known perfectly well who broke their frames. who sink their and other people's money in their projects while they are still inevitably imperfect and by no means clearly superior to their non-mechanised rivals. It was an unrealisable ideal. The small shop-keeper or local master did not want an economy of limitless expansion. His ideal was the secular dream of all 'little men.40 In Wiltshire . a ' threshold of profit' which is crossed rather late . even among those whose position was technically that of profit-makers. however. a smallscale society of modest property-owners and comfortably-off wageearners. Wiltshire.47 Of course the free enterprise economy could overcome 64 .46 But even the genuine capitalist entrepreneurcould be in two minds about machines. Let us remember. There is. of the employing class. never more so than in the most rapidly evolving of societies. without great distinctions of wealth of power. in the history of any technical device. only rarely were new machines immediate and obvious paying propositions. Jeffersonianor Jacobin radicalism.' which has found periodic expression in Leveller.
On issues . Working-classrevolts againstmachines gave such men their chance. Tufnell in I834 accusing " many of the masters in the cotton trade . of course. then at least more willing to consider the claims of the fully capitalist entrepreneur.than as an aspect of competition between the backwardand the progressiveshop-owner or manufacturer. the technical advances of the pioneer section were spread over quite a wide field. In any case they saw them as strengthening the position of the large modernised entrepreneur. What has been described as the " vast secular boom" of I775-I875 created situations. Throughout the subsequent period the central State apparatus tended to be. to protect themselves against the bankruptcy which threatened the laggard competitor. at whatever social cost. After i66o the traditional hostility to devices which take the bread out of the mouths of honest men. Yet we must not forget that the pioneers were minorities. They might dislike the need for new machines. So long as competition operated. but without the independent power to change it. in the last third of the century. . of the disgraceful behaviour of instigating workmen to turn out against those manufacturerswho were the first to enlarge their mules. C. their meteroricrise began.these obstacles. which provided entrepreneursin some industries . at any rate after i688. on any rational accounting. One may reasonably agree with the student of French machine-wrecking who observes that " sometimes the detailed study of a local incident reveals the Luddite movement less as an agitationof workmen. Most capitalists took the new machine in the first instance not as an offensive weapon.except. London sympathy was to prove of inestimable value to the new industrialists when.'48 The very mechanism of capitalaccumulationin a society undergoingrevolution provided others. they were not really good business at the moment.for instance. or because.the main rival. to win bigger profits. either because they disrupted their way of life. It has been well remarkedthat in Britain the Revolution of I640-60 marks a turning-point in the State's attitude towards machinery. how did he succeed in imposing himself? By means of the State. gave way to the encouragementof profit-makingenterprise. if not ahead of public opinion on economic matters. The Squire Westerns in some counties might still toast the shadow of a vanished feudal hierarchy in an unchanging society: there was no significant trace of feudal policy in the Whig governments. cottonwith the impetus to leap across the 'threshold. where these clashed with older. We are not surprised to find E."49 Petty producer and run-of-the-mill entrepreneur were in an ambiguous position. here and there. often they took it.51 This is one of the facts which justifiesus in regardingthe I7th century Revolution as the real political beginning of modern British capitalism. but as a defensive one. and bigger vested interests."50 If the innovating entrepreneur had the bulk of public opinion against him. .
consistent and general attempt was made to enforce it. seamen and coal-miners. Classical free enterprise economics dominated the debates. I think. Hence at times a certain neutrality of the State in labour matters. were in any case bound normally to be on the defensive. which might be safeguarded by restricted entry to the market and firm hiring monopolies.s was biased against them.55 When this was done. until the latter part of the i8th century the support of the State for the innovating entrepreneur was not unqualified. At best they could only hope for a share of the pork-barrel proportionate to their pressure. and in the early i8th century the ' modern' manufacturers were as yet only occasional groups of provincials. suggested that both parties get together amicably. It was the unreformed Parliament in its most ferociously conservative period. so that a proper petition might be framed and Parliamentcould take action.nabobs etc. at any rate until after the middle of the i8th century. The political system of Britain from i66o to I832 was designed to serve manufacturersonly in so far as they bought their way into the ring of vested interests of an older type . We now come to the last and most complex problem: how effective was machine-breaking? It is."52 Yet. fair to claim that collective bargaining by riot was at least as effective as any other means of bringing trade union pressure.the voice of the manufacturerincreasingly became the voice of government in these matters. pooh-poohed suggestions that these were seditious. Their success 66 .54 The attitude of the national government in the weavers' riots of I726-7 contrasts strikingly with that of the Home Office from the I790os on.53 Western clothiers complainedbitterly that the majority of local J. commercial or financial policy Lancashire might be in conflict with London. Nor did London hesitate to rap its more oldfashioned and sentimental local representatives over the knuckles if they failed " to maintain and uphold the rights of property of every description. against violence and agression.'56 Again. but earlier it was still possible for the men occasionallyto fight sections of the masters on more or less fair terms. merchants. Parliament sanctioned a collective agreement which gave the men very much what they wanted. but not on the fundamental supremacy of the profit-makingemployer. That is not to claim much. which introduced full laissez-faire into the relations between employer and worker.commercially-minded landlords. financiers. at the cost of a perfunctory ' apology for past riots. Men who did not enjoy the natural protection of small numbers and scarce apprenticed skills. As the century progressed. the frequency of ad hoc legislation in the i8th century57 tends to show that no systematic.P.of agrarian. and probably moreeffective than any other means availablebefore the era of national trade unions to such groups as weavers. London regretted that the local clothiers needlessly antagonised the men by arresting rioters.
therefore should be measured by their ability to keep conditions stable-e. whether a reduction of wages in the Tyne and Wearside coal mines could " be effected without danger to the tranquillity of the district. sailors and miners in the North East. the employer faced with such hazards. whatever happened in individual engagements. 67 .however. determine. which steadily rigged the game against wageearners59. or risking the destruction of all the mines. paused before he provoked them. ended as often as not." Sir John Clapham noted with unjustified surprise. and the valuable stock vested in them. they argued " the district lived in a state of quietude and repose. whatever the truth of the matter. riot and machine-wreckingprovided the workerswith valuable reserves at all times.64 The Luddism of the Wiltshire shearmen in I802 certainly postponed the spread of mechanisation. hold up the advance of technical progress? Patently it could not hold up the triumph of industrial capitalismas a whole."65 Paradoxicallyenough. of which we have record. Moreover. It may be argued that stability on paperwas constantlyunderminedby the slow inflation of the I8th century. The i8th century master was constantly aware that an intolerable demand would produce.6' Inevitably. On a smaller scale. we cannot. not a temporary loss of profits. how much to the latent or passive Luddism of the employers themselves. and to that extent they can claim an important share in any such successes. the initiative came from the men.but it would be asking too much of i8th century activities to cope with that. Though the wage-concessions were soon lost. with all the machinery. the wrecking of the helpless farm-labourersin I830 seems to have been the most effective of all."62 "Far more masters than one might expect.g."63 Could riot and machine-breaking. however.60 The disputes of keelmen. the threshing machines did not return on anythinglike the old scale. Nevertheless. with victory or acceptablecompromise. however. supported the retention of the Spitalfields Silkweavers'Acts.66 How much of such successes was due to the men.58 This required an unremitting and effective fight. but the destruction of capital equipment. for fear that " his property and perhaps his life (might) be endangered thereby. stable wage-rates." He thought not. Thus fear of the Norwich weavers is supposed to have prevented the introduction of machines there. a petition of I816 notes that " in time of War there was no giggs nor Frames at Trowbridge but sad to relate it is now Increasin Every Day. for under them. In I829 a leading colliery manager was asked by the Lords' Committee. one can hardly deny that Spitalfields silk-weavers benefited from their riots.against the perpetual and welladvertised desire of masters to reduce them to starvation level. Within their limits. it was by no means the hopelessly ineffective weapon that it has been made out to be.
Heckmondwike I888. Salisbury Assize Records qu. 2. L. Pouget. 0. woollen and silk-making machines in Wiltshire. for an account of the movement. 268 (1724). 20 The men of Bolton were alleged in 1826 to have planned the destruction of all the cotton-yarn ready packed for export. Rouff. Felkin. Hist. I908) 51-64 and passim. Welbourne. Darvall.) 45 ff. (Public Record Office. c. A History of the Machine-wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufactures (London I867) is the main authority. The Miners' Unions of Northumberland and Durham (Cambridge. Bergarbeiterstreik vom Mai I889. 4 e. Hammond. T. M. Le Compagnonnage (Paris 1901). and the German miners in I889 (P.2i. chap. Fletcher to Hobhouse 20 April 1826). Le Sabotage (Paris n. 1923). 8 House of Commons Journals. Some of these were due to ordinary labour disputes. 17 Geo. 24 Geo. (Burn's Justice of the Peace. and B. in Wiltshire Times 25-1-1919 (Wiltshire Notes & Queries). P.d. 11Public Record Office. 643 if. 107. 175.). 2 L. State Papers Domestic Geo. 2. III.77. L'Avdnement du Regime Syndical a Verviers (Paris. the Welsh ironworkers in I816 (The Times. 31. I738. Grebe. I54. I837 edn. the general strike of I842 (F. ed.g. (Public Record Office. 355 ff6 Darvall. pp. The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire (Manchester I93I). The Rural Unrest in England in I830 (Oxford Examination Schools) and Alice Colson. The Skilled Labourer.40. 2. 9 House of Commons Journals. 9 Geo. as well as of machines. 2. The Village Labourer (various editions) is the most accessible account. Peel. 13 Ashton and Sykes. S. I4). 7I5 (1718). 9I). 14 Io Geo. Amer. Dechesne. chap. c.125 which are also directed against wrecking in mines. The Industrial Revolution. The Risings of the Luddites. 15 Welbourne. 598-9 (I726). 26 Oct. 56 Geo. M. I816). Assizes 25/2I passim). paper-making machines in Buckinghamshire. Ztschr. A. H. Bismarcks Sturz u. C. 5. I74I. Turner seems to have neglected I3 Geo. 7 Bonner and Middleton's Bristol Journal. xx. England in the Eighteenth Century. T. The English Coal Industry in the I7th and i8th centuries. 22 e. The Revolt of the Hampshire Agricultural Labourers (London University Library). 5 For discussion of high-price rioting. Mann. Gash. The Coal Industry of the i8th Century (Manchester 1929). Popular Disturbance and Public Order in Regency England (London I934). XXVII p. Saint-Leon. R.d. Sykes.42 (E. 89-9I. Ashton. 12 E. Hammond. VIII passim. S. J. c. I. Chitty. 39 and 40 Geo. chap. 19 Aspinall.29. Turner. 3. xx. 3I Geo 2. de L. I77. in Berkshire.57. The Early English Trade Unions (London I949). Home Office Papers. 4I-69 for some of the documents.NOTES 1 J. xviii. See also two unpublished theses: N. 56: 82-3. Hist.. 3. c. 68-9. 658. Home Office Papers HO 40/19. iron-making machines. HO I3/57. the discussion of these problems in E.g. c.). I. L. Ashton and J. Wadsworth and J. and B. Plumb. 34I-7). 3 F.32. A. 21 Cf. Chartists and Plugdrawers. 31-7-1802. See J. VIII. c. 2. 3. 68 . 17 For the French mines cf. I50. 10 Gentleman's Magazine. CLVII. 18 E. some to opposition to new machines. Les mines de charbon en France au XVIIIe sidcle (Paris I922). Ret. Aspinall (ed. vol. 16 W. 21. c.
Aspinall. The Luddite Movement the men actually working machines to join in the strike against them. II. 4I2. R.i4() ). But T. were helped by the cheapness of the new machines. 476 ff. Hist. Mod. 7I-2. The Tinplate Industry (London 19I4).only by hatters. 57-8. to Journ. Hist. Econ. 3 vols. 26 J. N. Ctee. This is referredto in Hammonds. See the documents in G. 212-5.. Works and Correspondenceof David Ricardo. " in Marx' 46 See the brilliant analysis of the " democratic petty-bourgeois Address to the Central Council of the Communist League. Nat. Nash. London Life in the i8th Century (London 1925) 187-8. the Woollen-Cloth Weavers' Society . R. Howe and H. Cobb. 254-5. Mod. passim. Report fr. H. The Story of the Engineers (London I945) 142-3. 27 M. Economic History of Rossendale (Manchester I927). 29 E.Rev. Committee on Woollen Clothiers' Petition. 499-500. executed as such in innocent. 44 M. Sel.S. Journ. i802 (British Mus. on Agriculture. 183-4. F. Howe and Waite. See also the detailed analysis of the fate of Hargreaves.though Luddite intentionswere sometimesexpressedby others. Waite: The London Compositor (London I948) 226-33. VIII: New See chapter on " Machinery" in his Principles.with less success than in Britain. 64 estimates doubtless with some in France seems to have been virtuallyconfinedto shearmen. Processesand Machinery. J. 207. Mod. d'Hist. Papers I802. I803 is generallyheld to have been 214. threatenedor persuadedby their unemployedmates. Le Regime de l'Industrie en France de 1814 a I830 (Paris 1912-41)." 24 H.k. 1938. H. 47 The phrase " Threshold of profit" is S. 247. . 43 Darvall. I833. Village Labourer (Guild Books edn. I6o-I. . and Berks. Hist. Webb. George. into the 3d edition. 19. Jefferys. 28Parl. 48 They G. p. Skilled Labourer. 31 S. chap. Bourgin. . XVIII. inserted only cit. 37 Hammonds. 33J. Industrial Democracy (London I898)... Salisbury. chap. 32 For policy-change of compositors cf. i8o. Rules and Articles of . Gilfillan's (Invention as a Factor in Economic History. L.) II. Dec. 45 Printed Circular8 Dec. see Sraffa and Dobb. engineers. I96: "I cannot help thinking that the morning meetings and roll-callingsat presentare the bondof union. Devizes: 26 Nov. The Story of the Dockers' Strike (London I889). Objects and Effects of Trade Unions (I834). Rinaldo Rigola e il Movimento Operaio nel Biellese (Bari I930). 34 Op. 38 Manuel. 156-7. admitsthat they did. The Printing Trades (New York I942) for the long fight of Americancompositorsagainstthe technicalrevolutionin the past I5 years. reportsno actualwreckingby weavers. . Jones. J. G. 39 The shearmen(croppers)raised the nap on the finished cloth and shaved it off with heavy iron shears. Manuel. . 30 Wadsworth and Mann. I7 on the reluctance of in France. B. 40 41 42 Thomas Helliker. Worksof Marx C& Engels. L'Introduction des Machines en France et les Ouvriers. H.23Aspinall. Smith and V. Soc. I945). passim. IX. id. Actual Luddism exaggeration that only i in I00 of the threshing machines existing before I830 were now in use in Wilts. On this. They had to be both very strong and very skilful.S. and B. I830. 25 R. 249. Rigola. D. clothier installed jennies with 70-90 spindles for £9 apiece in I804. I87. i8o ff. a3 Sel. See also the note in Tufnell. Character. I830. clerk to the Justices at of the possibility of piecemeal mechanisation. Correspondence M. tin-plate workers. and H. Tuphng. 9o6. 127. Darvall. Supp.in & Libraryof WiltshireArchxaol. 36 On foreign shearmen'sagitation. A western Hence 69 . Lofts. lvii-lx. (Cambridge I95I) I.
xx. Econ. Marx. 53 For the " revolutionary change " in this period. cit. I773-I824. 61 Hammonds. H. Econ. 256.. op. The Case as it now stands between the Clothiers. The normal course of events was that laissez-faire progressed quietly. H. XX. Cf. K. M. London. III. cxxxv-vi. 57 Burns' Justice of the Peace. 643 ff. Journ. 803 for a bibliography of these.4Tufnell. in the Countv of Wilts. George's observation.. I. I739 (Cambridge Univ. The Transference of the Worsted Industry from Norfolk to the West Riding. 4I. Hist. discusses the question in greater detail. The Agriculture of Berkshire (London & Oxford i86I). 4I-2. Skilled Labourer. 463. Annals of the g9thCentury. 56 (I942). of Britain. More significant is the drastic collapse of prices after the repeal of the Acts (ibid. Q. Econ. I838 Ass. S.. 747. 63: 72. 56 Journals of the House of Commons. 7. 66 Clutterbuck. 51 E. 58 W. H. 70 . Lib. I90 that the rise in weaving prices under the Acts was not comparable with that in other trades during the period. 2-4). 50 Manuel. I88. 65 Hammonds.Ioo05). ibid. p. 62 William Stark on the reasons why machinery was not adopted in the Norwich worsted trade. Capital I (I938 edn. 59 E. 26. c. unless a specially active or effective campaign by the workers occurred. 55 Public Record Office: State Papers Domestic Geo. 552 ff. of England (4th edn. J. 63 J. the repeal of the wage-clauses in the Statute of Artificers in 1813 (W.. 300. The Profit Inflation and the Industrial Revolution I75II8oo.) 259-63. I86. and wage-reductions were resisted. Hist... of Trade Unionism (I894) 44 if. I80o-20.. I42. I. 93-4. 82. 368)." 52 See Note 45 above. Econ. Der Moderne Kapitalismus.. Acton d. 60 Hammonds.55 the hatters secured an Act forbidding any master hatter to sit on the bench in a dispute concerning them . Report II). Skilled Labourer. Commrs. XXVI. J. Webb. Journ. I8. J. contrary legislation falling into obsolescence.. 374). 9-10 (esp. Hamilton. Econ. " The Case as it now " (Note 54 above) 29. Clapham. 324-7. Sir John Clapham. ii. Hist. 64: i-6. III. 301. At any rate as late as I7 Geo. ed.. Skilled Labourer. D. gives typical arguments. 464. Weavers and other Manufacturers with regard to the late Riot. 54 Philalethes. 25. V. may be true. that " extra streak of hardness that seems to enter public life in the Restoration Age. 3. (Handloom Weavers' Commission. 64 Hammonds. gives a gruesome picture of this mass of un-coordinated piecemeal legislation. Smart. and B. The Spitalfields Acts. But parliamentary proceedings may give the wrong impression. Journ.which is more than farm-workers could achieve. rightly notes 313. stands . 485 ff. cit. p. Lipson. Mod. Sombart. Concise Econ. Clapham.) II.
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