In the mid 1820s, Cobbett toured southern England on horseback, reporting on its cultivation, the standard of living of its labourers, and the decline of its traditional practices such as living-in. New money and new urban styles, he claimed, were disrupting the placid stable rural economy (3a). The explosion he forecast occurred in 1830 when the rural proletariat of the arable south and east of England rose in the Swing riots. They demanded higher wages and an end to the threshing machine which destroyed their winter employment (3b). They reinforced their demands with rick-burning. Though the local gentry were often sympathetic, the government’s Special Commissions were savage, and hung nine men and transported nearly 500 others. Cobbett angrily insisted that Swing had its roots deep in hunger and oppression (3c) which would be remedied only by parliamentary reform. Years later, Joseph Arch (1826–1919), founder of the agricultural worker’s union, looked back (3d) on his village childhood with bitterness at the discipline exercised by parson and squire.