Skip to main content

Patrons, Radicals, and the Struggle for Control

  • Chapter
British Friendly Societies, 1750–1914
  • 65 Accesses

Abstract

When John Beveridge testified before an 1825 parliamentary committee on the act outlawing trade unions, he echoed working people’s understanding of what was happening to customary forms of economic activity. Beveridge, clerk of a seamen’s benefit society in the northeast of England, argued that unemployed sailors ‘must stand on shore; our labour is our merchandise.’1 Without work they would starve because people had become commodities selling their labour power in the marketplace. Beveridge and his mates were participating in a struggle between advocates of wage labour in a free market economy and those who defended customary rights to collective organisation and a place for the state in setting wage levels. Beveridge and his fellow workers sought to revive earlier traditions of reciprocity in which mutual interests generally guided relations between masters and men. Influenced by the changing labour relations environment, the Seamen’s Loyal Standard Association embraced a mixture of moral and market-driven attitudes toward economic exchange.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1 Evidence in Favour of the Seamen, Given by John Beveridge of North Shields, Before a Select Committee of the House of Commons 10 July 1825 (North Shields: W. Orange, 1826), p. 2. For background, see John Foster, Class Struggle and the Industrial Revolution (London: Methuen, 1974), pp. 105–7, where (p. 105) he calls Tyneside union organising ‘unequaled anywhere else in the country’ by the end of the eighteenth century. Iowerth J. Prothero, Artisans and Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century London: John Gast and his Times (Folkestone: Dawson, 1979), pp. 107, 178 and 189 places Beveridge into the larger context of early-nineteenth-century radicalism.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Articles of Agreement Between the Members of the Seamens Loyal Standard Association of the Ports of Bridlington, Scarborough, and Whitby, Yorkshire (North Shields: Roddam, 1825), p. 10.

    Google Scholar 

  3. See Mark O’Brien, ‘Class Struggle and the Poor Laws’, in Michael Lavalette and Gerry Mooney, eds, Class Struggle and Social Welfare (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 14–15.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Richard Grassby, The Idea of Capitalism Before the Industrial Revolution (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999), esp.ch. 3.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Malcolm Chase, Early Trade Unionism: Fraternity, Skill, and the Politics of Labour (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), p. 51.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Quoted in Derek Fraser, The Evolution of the British Welfare State: A History of Social Policy Since the Industrial Revolution (London: Macmillan, 1973), p. 147.

    Google Scholar 

  7. F. M. Eden, The State of the Poor (London: J. Davis, 1797), and idem, Observations on Friendly Societies (London: J. White, 1801); and Martin Gorsky, ‘The Growth and Distribution of English Friendly Societies in the Early Nineteenth Century’, Economic History Review, vol. 51 no. 3 (1998), pp. 489–511.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Richard Lister, ‘Campaign for the First Friendly Societies Act’, Friendly Societies Research Group, Newsletter, no. 7 (March 2001), p. 5; James Moher, ‘From Suppression to Containment: Roots of Trade Union Law to 1825’, in John Rule, ed., British Trade Unionism 1750–1850: The Formative Years (London: Longman, 1988), p. 89.

    Google Scholar 

  9. E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (orig. publ. 1963; repr. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1988), p. 457.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Dror Wahrman, Imagining the Middle Class: The Political Representation of Class in Britain, c.1780–1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), esp.pp. 33–5.

    Google Scholar 

  11. See Dorothy Thompson, Queen Victoria: Gender and Power (London: Virago, 1990), and Tony Taylor, ‘Down With the Crown’: British anti-Monarchism and Debates about Royalty Since 1790 (London: Reaktion Books, 1999).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Lister ‘Campaign for the First Friendly Societies Act’, p. 5, and Peter Clark, British Clubs and Societies 1580–1800: The Origins of an Associational World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 368–70.

    Google Scholar 

  13. P. H. J. H. Gosden, The Friendly Societies in England, 1815–1875 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1961), pp. 5–6.

    Google Scholar 

  14. See Richardson Campbell, Provident and Industrial Institutions (Manchester: Rechabite Buildings, 1925), pp. 244–5; and Barry Supple, ‘Legislation and Virtue: An Essay on Working Class Self-Help and the State in the Early Nineteenth Century’, in Neil McKendrick, ed., Historical Perspective: Studies in English Thought and Society in Honour of J. H. Plumb (London: Europa, 1974), p. 227.

    Google Scholar 

  15. J. C. Curwen, Hints on Agricultural Subjects (London: J. Johnson, 1809), p. 324.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Earls Colne Workers’ Education Association, A History of Earls Colne 1700–1974 (Earls Colne, Essex: WEA, 1975), p. 11; Margaret Fuller, West Country Friendly Societies: An Account of Village Benefit Clubs and their Brass Pole Heads (Lingford, Surrey: Oakwood Press, for the University of Reading, 1964), pp. 6–7.

    Google Scholar 

  17. George Rose, Observations on the Act for the Relief and Encouragement of Friendly Societies (London: S. Brookes, 1794), p. 13

    Google Scholar 

  18. William Parson and William White, A History, Directory, and Gazetteer of Cumberland and Westmoreland (orig. publ. 1829; repr. Beckermet: Michael Moon, 1976), p. 285.

    Google Scholar 

  19. David Cannadine, Aspects of Aristocracy: Grandeur and Decline in Modern Britain (London: Penguin, 1994), p. 17.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780–1850 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).

    Google Scholar 

  21. James Wilson, The Victoria History of the County of Cumberland (orig. publ. 1905; repr. London: Institute of Historical Research, 1968), vol. 2, pp. 373–5; and History, Directory, and Gazetteer of Cumberland, p. 283. The town would also become a centre of iron production: see J. E. Marr, Cumberland (Cambridge University Press, 1910), p. 166.

    Google Scholar 

  22. See P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion 1688–1914 (London: Longman, 1993), pp. 27–8.

    Google Scholar 

  23. J. C. Curwen, An Address to the People of the United Kingdom (London: J. Bell, 1817), pp. 65, 89, and 99.

    Google Scholar 

  24. J. Frome Wilkinson, Mutual Thrift (London: Methuen, 1891), p. 47, and A. F. J. Brown, Colchester 1815–1914 (Chelmsford: Essex County Council, 1980), pp. 93–4.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Samuel Best, The Substance of an Address to a Friendly Society on its Re-establishment (Winchester: Jacob and Johnson, 1852), p. 3

    Google Scholar 

  26. Rev. John Edward Nassau Molesworth, Friendly Societies, and Particularly the Hampshire Friendly Society; Recommended in a Discourse (Southampton: Wm Skelton, 1825), p. 7.

    Google Scholar 

  27. John Thomas Becher, Observations upon the Report from the Select Committee … (Newark: S. and J. Ridge, 1826), p. 14

    Google Scholar 

  28. E. P. Thompson, ‘The Patricians and the Plebs’, in Customs in Common (London: Merlin Press, 1991), p. 64.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Owen Chadwick, Victorian Miniature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 31–2.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Richard Price, British Society 1680–1880: Dynamism, Containment, and Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 317.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Joseph Townsend, A Dissertation on the Poor Laws (orig. publ. 1786; repr. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1971), p. 30.

    Google Scholar 

  32. J. W. Cunningham, ‘A Few Observations on Friendly Societies and their Influence on Public Morals’, The Pamphleteer (1817), p. 163; italics in the original.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Harvey W. Brooks, The Christian Law of Mutual Burden Bearing (London: T. Hatchard, 1853), p. 21.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Lynn Hollen Lees, The Solidarities of Strangers: The English Poor Laws and the People, 1700–1948 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

    Google Scholar 

  35. John Rule, ‘The Formative Years of British Trade Unionism: An Overview’, in Rule, ed., British Trade Unionism 1750–1850, p. 10.

    Google Scholar 

  36. E. P. Thompson, ‘The Patricians and the Plebs’, p. 62.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Henry Pelling, A History of British Trade Unionism (London: Macmillan, 1963), p. 11; and Dorothy Thompson, Outsiders: Class, Gender, and Nation (London: Verso, 1993), pp. 81–2.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Robert Glen, Urban Workers in the Early Industrial Revolution (London: Croom Helm, 1984). pp. 68–9; and see G. D. H. Cole, Attempts at General Union: A Study in British Trade Union History, 1818–1834 (London: Macmillan, 1953), p. 5.

    Google Scholar 

  39. W. Taylor, ‘An Answer to Mr. Carlile’s Sketches of Paisley’, quoted in Ward and Fraser, p. 13.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Takao Matsumura, The Labour Aristocracy Revisited: The Victorian Flint Glass Makers, 1850–1880 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1983), pp. 85–99; Evelyn Lord, ‘Derbyshire Friendly Societies and the Paradox of Thrift’, The Journal of Regional and Local Studies (Winter 1996–97), p. 12.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Anna Clark, The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), pp. 38 and 69.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Evelyn Lord, ’ “Weighed in the Balance and Found Wanting”: Female Friendly Societies, Self Help and Economic Virtue in the East Midlands in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, Midland History, vol. 22 (1979), p. 110.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Robert Sharp, The Diary of Robert Sharp of South Cave, Janice E. Crowther and Peter A. Crowther, eds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, for the British Academy, 1997), entry for 7 January 1831.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Prothero, Artisans and Politics, p. 142; Clark, Struggle for the Breeches, p. 171.

    Google Scholar 

  45. D. J. Rowe, ed., London Radicalism, 1830–1843: A Selection from the Papers of Francis Place (London: London Record Society, 1970), p. viii.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Paul Pickering, Chartism and the Chartists in Manchester and Salford (Basingstoke: Macmillan — now Palgrave Macmillan, 1995), p. 123.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Brian Bailey, The Luddite Rebellion (New York: New York University Press, 1998), pp. 129–30.

    Google Scholar 

  48. John Leech for the Huddersfield Short-Time Committee, Address to the Friendly Societies. (Huddersfield: Smart, 1831).

    Google Scholar 

  49. The League, no. 36 (1 June 1844), p. 578; and Alex Tyrrell and Paul Pickering, The Peoples Bread: A History of the Anti-Corn Law League (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 2000), p. 196.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Dot Jones, ‘Self-Help in Nineteenth-Century Wales: The Rise and Fall of the Female Friendly Society’, Llafur, vol. 4 (1984), p. 16; and Wilkinson, Mutual Thrift, pp. 112–13.

    Google Scholar 

  51. For example, John Belcham, ‘The Immigrant Alternative: Ethnic and Sectarian Mutuality among the Liverpool Irish during the Nineteenth Century’, in Owen Ashton, Robert Fyson, and Stephen Roberts, eds, The Duty of Discontent: Essays for Dorothy Thompson (London: Mansell, 1995), pp. 231–50.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, The History of Trade Unionism, 2nd edn (London: Longmans, Green, 1911), appendix II.

    Google Scholar 

  53. See, for example, Pioneer, no. 21 (25 June 1834), p. 171, and no. 23 (8 February 1834), p. 199; and Cole, Attempts at General Union, p. 94.

    Google Scholar 

  54. See Roger Wells, ‘Tolpuddle in the Context of English Agrarian Labour History 1780–1850’ in Rule, ed., British Trade Unionism 1750–1850, pp. 98–142.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Ruth Richardson, Death, Dissection, and the Destitute (London: Penguin, 1988), pp. xv–xvii and 275.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Hilary Marland, Medicine and Society in Wakefield and Huddersfield, 1780–1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 183–4; and see Price, British Society.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Alan Kidd, State, Society, and the Poor in Nineteenth-Century England (Basingstoke: Macmillan — now Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), p. 114.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Rosalind Mitchison, The Old Poor Law in Scotland: The Experience of Poverty, 1574–1845 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), pp. 70–9.

    Google Scholar 

  59. James Epstein, Radical Expression: Political Language, Ritual, and Symbol in England, 1790–1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1790–1850); and Paul Pickering, ‘Class Without Words: Symbolic Communication in the Chartist Movement’, Past and Present, no. 112 (August 1986), pp. 144–62.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Northern Star, no. 286 (6 May 1843), and no. 317 (9 December 1843). The United Patriots advertised weekly in the Northern Star, the principal Chartist newspaper. For Ridley, see English Chartist Circular, no. 69 (24 April 1842), p. 66; R. B. Pugh, ‘Chartism in Somerset and Wiltshire’, in Chartist Studies, Asa Briggs, ed. (London: Macmillan, 1959), pp. 196–7 and 208–9; and Edward Royle, ‘Chartists and Owenites — Many Parts But One Body’, Labour History Review, vol. 65 no. 1 (Spring 2000), p. 15.

    Google Scholar 

  61. James Henry James, A Guide to the Formation and Management of Friendly Societies (London: Simpkin & Marshal, 1851), n.p.

    Google Scholar 

  62. See Pickering, Chartism and the Chartists, pp. 125–6; J. Frome Wilkinson, The Friendly Society Movement: Its Origin, Rise and Growth (London: Longman, Green, 1886), p. 36; and National Insurance Weekly, vol. 1 no. 6 (20 July 1912), p. 162.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Hansard, 3rd ser., vol. 97 (16 March 1848), col. 639; George Candelet, A Letter Addressed to Oddfellows, Foresters, Druids, etc. (Hyde: n.p., 1848), cited in Dorothy Thompson, The Chartists: Popular Politics in the Industrial Revolution (New York: Pantheon,1984), pp. 303–4 and 388n.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Eileen Yeo, ‘Robert Owen and Radical Culture’, in Sidney Pollard and John Salt, eds, Robert Owen: Prophet of the Poor (London: Macmillan, 1971), p. 103; Richard Price, Labour in British Society: An Interpretative History (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 55.

    Google Scholar 

  65. See Gregory Claeys, Machinery, Money and the Millennium: From Moral Economy to Socialism, 1815–1860 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987).

    Google Scholar 

  66. R. G. Garnett, A Century of Co-operative Insurance (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1968), p. 15. Garnett’s point remains valid: the Rational and Shelley Friendly Society, headquartered in Manchester, is the direct descendent of the Owenite Rational Friendly Society.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Community Friendly Society, Rules (London: C. H. Baker, 1836), p. 22.

    Google Scholar 

  68. National Community Friendly Society, First Yearly Report (Birmingham: Francis Bassett, 1838), p. 7.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Rational Sick and Burial Society, Rules (Manchester: Joseph Gillett, 1845), p. 1.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Community Friendly Society, Rules (London: C. H. Baker, 1836), p. iii.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Pioneer, no. 3 (21 September 1833), p. 21, and no. 14 (7 December 1833), p. 17.

    Google Scholar 

  72. John Finch, ‘Letter to the Liverpool Friendly Societies Union’, 26 August 1830.

    Google Scholar 

  73. J. C. Farn, ‘The Autobiography of a Living Publicist’, The Reasoner (17 February 1858), p. 52.

    Google Scholar 

  74. John Saville, 1848: The British State and the Chartist Movement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 217; and Edward Royle, Revolutionary Britannia? Reflections on the Threat of Revolution in Britain 1789–1848 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 190.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Copyright information

© 2003 Simon Cordery

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Cordery, S. (2003). Patrons, Radicals, and the Struggle for Control. In: British Friendly Societies, 1750–1914. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230598041_3

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230598041_3

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-43163-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-230-59804-1

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics