ITwillbeeasiesttobeginbyretelling,withamplificationsandcorrectionswheretheyarerequired,thestory ofthemovementinLancashirethatbeganunder Doherty'sleadership.JohnDohertywasbornat Buncrana,Co.Donegal,eitherin1799(accordingto himself) 1orin1797(accordingtohisson,Austin Doherty).2HebeganworkatLarne,andmigratedto Englandin18173orin1814,2risingspeedilytoprominenceamongtheManchesterCottonSpinners, whosesecretaryhebecame.Accordingtohisown testimony,inaspeechmadeatthefamousWibseyLow Moormeetingof1833,he'beganthestrugglein

1819';<~- anditcanbetakenascertainthatfromthen onwardshewascontinuouslyactiveinsomeformof TradeUnionorganisation,orinthestruggleforfactoryreform.Atsomeperiodintheeighteen-twenties -possiblyin1824or1826-hewassentencedto twoyears'imprisonmentforhisshareinthe'general turn-out'.Thisishisownstatement:hecomplains thathischaracterhasbeenviolentlyandvirulently

assailed', and that ' 146 are leagued against one individual'. 1 The only further light on this episode is thrown by Tufnell, the Factory Commissioner, who said in his 1834 report that Doherty was 'imprisoned for two years for a gross assault on a woman'.2 What this probably means is that Doherty got into trouble over some picketing incident in the course of the strike. That he was at that time one of the principal leaders of the Spinners we know: there is preserved among the Place Papers a placard of 1826, signed by Doherty, Foster and Hodgkins, urging the cotton spinners to refrain from machine-breaking during the power-loom riots of that year. J

The Lancashire Cotton Spinners, the first new skilled trade created by the Industrial Revolution, had formed Trade Societies well before the end of the eighteenth century. The Manchester Spinners had a printed Book of Rules as early as 1795,4 and in 1792 an attempt was made to create a Federated Association of Cotton Spinners in Stockport and other towns in Lancashire and Cheshire under the rules applying to Friendly Societies.s By 1810 the Spinners were strongly organised in Trade Clubs over a wide area. The wellknown pamphlet on The Character, Objects and Effects of Trades Unions, written by Henry Tufnell and published in 1834, gives a long description of the widespread spinners' strike of 1810-'the most extensive and persevering strike that has ever taken place'. On that occasion, 'all the spinners in all the mills in the neigh-

bourhood of Manchester, including Stockport, Macclesfield, Stalybridge, Ashton, Hyde, Oldham, Bolton and as far north as Preston, simultaneously left their work, and had the strike continued a little longer, the whole of Scotland would have joined it'. The author paints a lurid picture of the strikers holding the streets, masters going in fear, blacklegs imprisoned in the factories. 'The government of this strike', he adds, 'was carried on by a congress at Manchester, which was formed of delegates sent from all the principal mills.' The chief leader was a man called James Shipley, who later saw the error of his ways, and gave evidence against the Ten Hours Bill. 'This man', says the pamphlet, 'is and has long been a respectable mechanic.' 1 The 'turn-outs' were supported during the strike by contributions from those who were still at work in other places. For a long period nearly £1500 was subscribed weekly, and 12s. a week was paid to the men on strike. But gradually the contributions fell off, and after four months the spinners were compelled to give way. Wages were heavily reduced-in some cases by 50 per cent-and the power of the Unions was broken for the time. 2

ThiswasbeforeDoherty'sday;butwhenhecame toManchestersomeyearslater,hefoundtheSpinners' organisationreadytorebuilditsforcesforanewstruggle duringthetroublousyearsaftertheNapoleonicwars. The1810strikehadbeenconductedbyaGeneral UnionofSpinnersformedbylinkingupthevarious localsocieties;anditsobjecthadbeentoraisethe wagesinthesmallercentresuptotheManchesterlevel. Thisobject,whichtheworkerscalledthe'equalisation ofwages'- thatis,alevellinguptotheratespaidby thebestfirms-runsthroughthewholehistoryof TradeUnionisminthetextiletradesintheearly nineteenthcentury.Butthenextstruggle-thatof 1818-turned,noton'equalisation',butonthe attemptofthespinnerstorecover,withthereturnof prosperity,somepartofthebigwagereductionswhich theyhadsufferedsince1810.