« Winning Isn't Everything - But It Sure Beats The Alternative | Main | Alligator Shoes »

Luddite Spring: 30 - Sometime

Ronnie Bray continues his novel about the Luddite rebellion by downtrodden workers during the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

Seth Gledhill was a man that was sorely tried. The final straw that set him seeking revenge was the killing of his daughter, Mary. Gledhill’s courage was innate, but the determination that he must act for himself and his fellows was in response to Mary’s death at Staithes’ boot end, and was exacerbated by the refusal of priest and physician to assist in time of adversity. Gledhill had called on heaven for help but discovered that Omnipotence had no interest in the poor. God was on the side of Masters, Parsons, Magistrates, Government, Church, King, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all. But workers and the unemployed were excluded from benisons divine and profane.

Hailed as a Christian nation, England failed to live up to its Christian responsibilities by refusing to love and nurture its suffering.

Gledhill and his friends were encouraged by rebellions reported in newspapers and handbills. They saw what was being done in other areas by those whose complaints resembled their own. Gledhill considered that a significant change was coming in which the sowers of fear would themselves be made afraid.

Staithes marked Gledhill as a hothead without ever witnessing the fire that stoked the cropper’s outrage. Gledhill never looked into the eyes of master or overlooker. Yet there was something in his iron frame and capable face that put them on notice that here was a man whom fear did not rule. Gledhill's self-awareness endowed him with the understanding that he must fight against the depravity that marred workers’ lives, although he lacked a substantive weapon with which to fight the evils. The cropper was especially dangerous because whilst he harboured a sense of dread about what he might eventually be driven to do, he was not made afraid by it. He believed that whatever it was he would be brought to do was as inevitable as the tides. What he had learned about natural justice decreed that there would come a reckoning. “The day of their condemnation and of our revenge will come – sometime!” he muttered through clenched teeth under his breath at each affront he noted against his fellow workers. To himself he repeated, “Sometime! Sometime! It will come because it must come!”

Anyone that could predict the future would recognise that Gledhill’s vision of a better world would eventually embrace a levelling that would make all men equal in respect and dignity. He came to the view that the worth of every man, woman, and child was important and had to be recognised. He believed that workers were entitled to feed themselves from the product of their labour, that labourers had natural rights to be clothed, housed, and treated in ways that secured their health and futures. While at this moment in time, he had not come around to that belief, future events would result in the recognition of these principles that would come to be recognised as basic human rights.

Even as Gledhill contemplated the fulfilment of the hopes he harboured in his breast, a weapon was being forged in the lustrous fires of other men’s minds that would come into his hands, and his ‘sometime’ would not be long delayed in its coming.


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