This chapter examines the attempts to ‘suppress’ Swing. It shows that in issuing ‘lenient’ sentences to the first machine-breakers, the actions of the East Kent authorities helped to shape the movement and instigated a more interventionist approach from central government. Yet even this firmer line proved ineffectual against the snowballing movement in the Weald. The support of many farmers made enrolling special constables difficult, and attempts to suppress ultra-mobile assemblages became impossible without military support. The chapter argues that the centeral government was more influential in securing evidence and organising trials through the dispatch of Treasury Solicitor Maule to Kent and Sussex, and lawyer William Tallents to Winchester.
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