Anti-Swing poster, c.1830
PRO HO 44/23





Fellow Countrymen,

Still almost daily we hear of Breaking Machines, and Burning Stacks of Corn, Barns, &c. Some of you are led to join in these things by persons who are unknown to you; these persons pretend to be your Friends; they only urge you on, they would have you believe, as a means of obtaining increase of Wages and Employ. Be no longer deceived, the day will come when some unexpected intervention of Providence, or the activity of Man, will unmask these wretches, when their dark designs will be discovered to have been, to create Confusion and Disorder, in the hope of benefitting themselves by Plunder, or by overturning the established Order of Things, and you will find too late, that you have been the Dupes of their designs. If they, through your means ruin the Farmer, it is perfectly clear he cannot employ you, and if you are apprehended for a Breach of the Law, you will be left to suffer, and your leaders will have Cunning enough to keep their own Necks out of the Halter. Now as you cannot be acquainted with the length to which the Arm of the Law can reach you, my friendly object is to open your Eyes, that you may no longer be ignorant of the risk you run. Learn then, that the Law says it is a crime even if a man CONCEAL what he knows in these matters, although he never consented to the commission of the Crime, and that he can only save himself from the consequences, by discovering the Offence to a Magistrate, with all the speed he can. Further the Law says, if a Man, though not present when the Crime is committed, is discovered to have procured, counselled (that is advised,) commanded, or abetted, (that is encouraged, or backed another to commit it,) he is an Accessory before the fact, and equally liable to Punishment. So again if several Persons set out together, or in small Parties, upon one common Design for any Purpose in itself unlawful, and each takes his part: some to commit the Crime, others to watch at proper Distances, and Stations to prevent surprise, or to favor the escape of those who are more immediately engaged in it, they are all (in the Eye of the Law) punishable for it. Follow then the example of those Fellow-Labourers, who have respectfully applied to their Employers for increase of Wages, where they have been too low, and who have obtained Redress. There can be no doubt but those Farmers who have hitherto paid you too little, will now see their Error, and be induced by public Opinion, to follow the Example of those Farmers who pay you what is just for your Labour. Follow this advice, given by a Stranger to you, who has only your, and His Country's Interest at Heart, (he is no Farmer) turn your backs upon your Enemies and Deceivers, pursue your Honest Industry, and become once more worthy of being respected as MEN OF KENT.

The Poor Man's Friend.


To such among you as pay inadequate Wages, I say, read attentively the above Advice and Caution give to your Men, and remember that "The Labourer is worthy of his Hire." I do not call upon you to listen to wild and unreasonable Demands, but I recommend you at least to follow the example of those Farmers, who deal JUSTLY by their Labourers. Employ THEM instead of using Machines. This will it may be hoped make them contented and comfortable, and bring them back to a sense of their Duty.


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