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‘Policy on the hoof’: Sir Robert Peel, Sir Edward Knatchbull and the trial of the Elham machine breakers, 1830

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 16:39 authored by Carl GriffinCarl Griffin
On 22nd October 1830 Sir Edward Knatchbull passed sentence on seven men for threshing-machine breaking in the Elham Valley area of East Kent. The four day sentence enraged both local farmers and Home Secretary Peel alike, and was seized upon by other labourers and artisans hostile to threshing-machines who believed that Knatchbull had legitimised such acts of rural Luddism. The trial sparked an intensification of ‘Swing’ in East Kent and for the first time acts of overt protest beyond. Knatchbull, upon being pressed by George Maule, the Treasury Solicitor, admitted that the sentences could not have been otherwise under circumstances he was not at liberty to disclose. This paper examines these circumstances and uncovers a bizarre chain of events which shed new light on both the genesis of ‘Swing’ and also upon local-central government relations regarding policy implementation and creation.

History

Publication status

  • Published

Journal

Rural History

ISSN

0956-7933

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Issue

2

Volume

15

Page range

127-148

Department affiliated with

  • Geography Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date

2014-02-03

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