28 January 2013

On the Stock Exchange

From J. Hawker's letter, The Hungry Forties; Descriptive Letters and Other Testimonies from Contemporary Witnesses (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1904), p. 79:
In 1844 it was not safe to go out after dark if you had any money on you. Burglary, highway robbery, fowl stealing because men were starving. Men would steal sheep to get sent away [to Australia]. They had their freedom when they got there. When we have to be sent away as convicts to get liberty, we quietly sit down at home slaves. Shame on working men! But where are the sheep-stealers to-day? The conditions of men is better -- they have disappeared. But the men who made the men steal through Protection [i.e., The Corn Laws], hunger, and misery, and finding we had killed Protection and buried it, he has had to turn thief himself. Where? On the Stock Exchange.