Tuesday, 12 July 2016

12th July 1816: The Tory Leicester Journal sees the 'Loughborough Job' as a consequence of 'democratic principles'

On Friday 12th July 1816, the Tory Leicester Journal carried an article reporting recent arrests for the 'Loughborough Job' in which it blamed 'democratic principles' for the growth of Luddism:
In the commitments to the County Gaol during the last week, were two men named Benjamin Badder and John Slater, both of Nottingham, on suspicion of being concerned in the late attack upon Mr. Heathcote’s manufactory at Loughborough.—Jas. Towle, of Basford, near Nottingham, has also been committed to the said Gaol, charged with being concerned in the said offence. Luddism has very justly been attributed to the influence of those democratic and disorganizing principles which have very extensively prevailed among many of the higher classes in the countries where the stocking and lace manufactory is carried on. The charge we believe to be too well founded. Democratic newspapers, and democratic principles, have had a very wide circulation, and many tradesmen and manufacturers, instead of counteracting them, have lent their utmost aid to give them authority. It is true they did not expect to have their frames broken, their property destroyed, and their servants murdered. They indulged their own political theories, and wished to realize their own schemes of reform and revolution on those above them. But they have had experience, in the Luddite system, of their own principle carried into effect against themselves; and if the innocent had not, in many instances, like the present, suffered with the guilty, and that demoralizing principles were encouraged in the lower classes, we should not be sorry for their claims and sufferings. These are the genuine effects of the interest the lower classes in many manufacturing places have been taught by their superiors to take, first, in the French revolution, and then in the character and exploits of Bonaparte.

No comments:

Post a Comment