Wednesday, 23 November 2011

23rd November 1811: Editorial in the Leeds Mercury

We are more concerned than surprised to find, that a Spirit of Riot and Insubordination has broken out in the county of Nottingham amongst the suffering Manufacturers. As it frequently happens on such occasions, the cause of the distress of these unfortunate people is mistaken; they imagine, it seems, that the low rate of wages and the scarcity of work arise from some improvement in the Stocking weaving Frames, and their vengeance is directed against the owners of these inoffensive implements of labour; but they ought to be informed that the real cause of the evils of which they so loudly and justly complain, is the long continuance of a heart-sickening war, without visible object, and apparently without end, and which has in its consequences damned up all the regular outlets of trade; and if instead of sacking the workshops of their employers, who are in general deep participators in the sufferings of the labouring classes, they would unite with the other manufacturers throughout the kingdom in petitioning the proper authorities, first to inform them what it is we are fighting for; and secondly, if the object does not justify the sacrifices, to put a stop to the horrors and miseries of this contest, they would act much more wisely and have a much better chance of seeing an end of their grievances, than by their present lawless and senseless proceedings. We do most sincerely commisserate their situation, but we utterly condemn the means by which they seek to obtain redress.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Post, btw.

    It would appear that the ruling class were more interested in perpetuating a war against France to save their interests rather than saving the interests of the people and manufacturing industry. A modern analogy there then!