Picture of Edwin Russell

Edwin Russell

places mentioned

Oct. 3 to 9: Northleach, then to Herefordshire

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On Thursday, October 3rd, after holding a good meeting at Winchcomb, we walked 14 miles to Northleach, where we held a thorough good meeting, more than 600 labourers putting in an appearance, with a good sprinkling of shopkeepers and farmers. By the time we commenced the meeting the stars shone out from a blue sky, and although it was cold and inclined to be frosty we proceeded with our meeting. All passed off quietly, much to the chagrin and disappointment of our opponents, who had issued all manner of slanderous reports, and had gone so far as to threaten a good pelting of the speakers with rotten eggs and filth; but I think it was a good thing for them that they did not make the attempt. Mr. Hemming spoke well for some time, and then Mr. Russell, in a good speech, well delivered, advised the men amongst other things to be patient, firm, and persevering, to conduct themselves quietly, orderly, and soberly. Ringing cheers were given for the Queen and the Union. Several new members were enrolled, and a good many old members paid up their back subscriptions. This is the memorable place where the farmers intimated that they would like to tar and feather Mr. Arch, and where the ejectment summons was issued, which has been carried into effect in the case of poor old John Phipps, of Sherborne, who, after working on Lord Sherborne's estate for 44 years, has been turned out of house and home, and his goods into the street, for no other crime than that of joining the Agricultural Labourers' Union.

On Friday, October 4th, from Northleach to Bourton-on-the-Water, where we held a very interesting labourers' meeting. About 800 persons attended, although the night was cold, and paid great attention to the address. Mr. Hemming and Mr. Russell were the delegates, who gave lengthy and interesting speeches in connection with the present working and future prospects of the Union. A wagon was brought into an open space near the river, which runs through the town, and although it blew very chilly from the water, yet the people stood together in a compact mass, and did not attempt to go until the meeting was over. Three hearty cheers were called for and given for the Queen, the speakers, and the Union, and thus was brought to a close a very interesting meeting. We ascertained that there was a good working branch in this village.

Arrangements having been entered into for about a month's work in this county [Herefordshire], Mr. Russell and Mr. Jordan started from Harbury on Wednesday morning, October 9th, to Colwell, a long straggling village near to the celebrated Malvern Hills. We found that several months back Mr. Thos. Strange and his party paid a visit to this place, and succeeded in forming a branch in connection with the West of England Association, several labourers giving in their names and paying the entrance fee of 6d., and although that was as far back as April, yet he has never visited them since, and thus the thing has been let slip through for want of looking after. On Thursday, October 10th, from Colwell the delegates passed on to Bosbury, where we held a meeting near the Churchyard wall, not a very good place but the best in the village. It was a very stormy, wet,, cold night. About 200 people got together from the surrounding neighbourhood, who often cheered and applauded the speakers. About 26 members were enrolled to start a branch of the National Agricultural Labourers' Union. A Mr. Forster, of Wellington Heath, consenting to see to the working of it for the present, a man who the people have great confidence in.

The following is the week cut out for Mr. Russell and Mr. Jordan :— Bromyard, Sutton St. Nicholas, Tenbury, Pembridge, Dilwin, Weobelig, Pulley, Morningford, Stoke Eadeth, Withington, Madley, Wormbridge, Orcup, Garway, Harewood's End, Llangarran, Hereford, Ross, and Ledbury.

During the past week Mr. E. Russell has been labouring in this county, breaking up new ground. Mr. Jordan is to join him.

Edwin Russell, Reports in the Labourers' Union Chronicle , No. 9 (Oct. 19, 1872), pp. 6-7

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