Friday, 29 October 2010

THE TIM BOBBIN INN: Machine Breakers in Council. - Sir James Phillips Kay-Shuttleworth (1804 -1877)

Just got back from the North of England, thought I'd post this little number, you can hear the rich dialect flowing through the prose. We should never forget our past. Remembering , remembering.

A BRIGHT light gleamed from the windows of the ground floor. Crossing the threshold, this light was seen to come chiefly from a large coal fire, blazing in the ample grate of the room which served as kitchen, bar, and place of reception for guests. High-backed wooden settles screened the centre of this room from the door, and occupied two sides of it. In the middle was a plain deal table, and on this glasses of beer, and of spirits and water, with some rough hunches of bread and oatcake. Overhead was a frame, the strings of which were covered with the round, flat, thin flakes of oatcake which had dried there. From the hooks in the ceiling hung hams and flitches of bacon. The settles were filled with men mostly smoking from long clay pipes; and spittoons, filled with sawdust, lay beside each on the sanded floor....
All seemed weary and worn. "Oi'n allays been agen this rowing and rioting as brings t'sodgers on us poor wavers," said Silas. "What t'farreps have we to do in feyghting wi t'red coats? Connut we creep into t'mills at neet, and smash o't' iron wavers as robs eawr childer of bread? A bit of a tenpenny nail stuck in t'reet pleck in a machine, ull break it o' to nowt, when th'ingin gets agate. Yo moit crack 'em o', when th'ingin starts i' t'morn, wi' their own steeam. What's t'use o' lettin t'sodgers get a chance at us?"
"Nay , lads , let's do nowt underhand. We'dn done a pratty day or two 's wark afore t'sodgers geet at us. There's summut righteos i'open wrath, for clemming wives and childer, but we're noan theives to cloak what we done i' t'dark... What says ta, Jonah?"
"Oim o' thy mind, Mark. There's nobbut two uses in what we'n done. If these machines can foind wark for o' onus, there mun be moor on 'em by a deal, and wen towd t'meausters at we winnt clem. But if they connut foind wark for ten times as mony machines an' steam looms as they now han, then, lads, we'n gien 'em notice to quit. They'n getten t'brass and t'edication, an' we'n nother brass nor larning, but we'n shown 'em as we'n Lancashire pluck. We're not t'lads to dee in t'ditch, 'bout kicking. But I'm noan clear which is reet --- mo steam looms, or ten times as mony iron-wavers."
"Then why smash them as tha' has helped to do?" asked Silas. "To keep t'pot boiling at whoam till t'measters han fun out t'reet gate. We mun keep t'hand loom jingling at whoam an we han nowt but oatmale, and praties, and buttermilk. t'pig, and t'garden stuff. After this smash we'st ha'wark ' bout flittin' into t'towns, and by-and-by we'st get mills all o'er t'forests."

Personally speaking, resistance is necessity.

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