Monday, 7 August 2017

Captain Swing.

The 19th century was a time of acute  poverty and class struggle, not least in rural areas.

In the 1830's, a mysterious figure appeared in the countryside in response to the introduction of threshing machines which threw thousands out of work.

'Captain Swing' sent letters to farmers who introduced the machines, Magistrates who authorised the use of extreme force against the labourers, Parish Guardians who refused to make payments to the unemployed rural poor and priests who called for order.

Those who changed their ways were spared. Those who continued to exploit the poor might expect a visit from 'The Captain' and his followers.

This is a famous example of one of Captain Swing's letters;

Sir, Your name is down amongst the Black hearts in the Black Book and this is to advise you and the like of you, who are Parson Justasses, to make your wills. Ye have been the Blackguard Enemies of the People on all occasions, Ye have not yet done as ye ought,.... Swing

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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