« Perspicacious Performances by Rummel and DePledge | Main | Rae »

Luddite Spring: Episode 13 - Treachery And Hope

...English workers had been forced into fighting postures with gathering speed as their lives darkened in despair...

Ronnie Bray continues his novel concerning justice and turmoil in the early days of the industrial revolution.

It was an act of treachery for a man to speak about ill treatment of himself or his family at the hands of masters and his violent subordinates, even when it involved the death of a child. Even as silence was essential for their safety, it also furnished a place for grievances to be gathered without lessening the thirst for revenge. In this place, the appetite for vengeance is nurtured, and eventually reaches an intensity that can only be satisfied by blood.

No man would choose to risk his family’s safety and welfare by rash action. Experience had shown them that when a wronged man had sought revenge it led starvation because the husband was inevitably imprisoned and his dependants thrown out of their jobs, out of their home, and were forced to quit their community and seek shelter elsewhere. Thus abandoned, they declined, sickened, and often died in an unfeeling world that blamed them for their pitiful plight.

The longer the silence at injustice, the greater grew their resentment. Waiting for revenge increased anger exponentially, and retribution was planned to be the more extreme when it did come. Common people were driven to revolt when they accepted that they had no other recourse by which to obtain economic or social justice.

Among West Riding textile workers, the pot of vengeance had been seething for some time when the spirit of dissent among stockingers and lace makers of Nottingham was transformed into action, fifty-five miles south from Huddersfield. Discontent covers such distances with promptness gathering force and conviction on its way. When news of it arrived in the Huddersfield district it was noted that such action could be the answer to their own attempts to improve their lot.

It didn’t take long until further reports from Nottinghamshire convinced them that if things were going to improve it would be because they took matters into their own hands. There were enough men ready to take action although they knew it meant risking everything, but they were roused to a passion after years of suffering in silence as they suffered privation and had buried their children. Their resistance to abuses had only made matters worse. Disease, unsanitary housing, and starvation had hardened the minds of workers to want a better world. Open indifference of the privileged classes were the canvas on which they were ready to apply their struggles in blood. Habitually undemonstrative English workers had been forced into fighting postures with gathering speed as their lives darkened in despair. It was in this soil that the seeds of revolt were sown. They were to produce a bitter harvest.


Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.