By A. E. Musson

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Thompson quotes Place's reference to reform meetings held 'by journeymen tradesmen in their clubs' ([16J 889), and evidence from the brushmakers' records shows them subscribing to reform associations ([36] 177); but neither Briggs nor Rowe in their studies of the London movement have produced evidence of actual trade-society involvement. 1 Briggs notes that certain superior craftsmen, such as the engineers, held aloof from politics, but that a minority, including Lovett, Hetherington and others, provided Radical leadership ([86J 4-5).

There is, in fact, only vague and inadequate evidence on the political role of trade societies during those years. There is no doubt, of course, that large numbers of working men attended meetings and took part in demonstrations, though far fewer probably belonged to Radical societies. But to what extent trade societies as such - as distinct from individual membersactually took corporate political action is very doubtful. This is equally true of the Radical agitation over the Reform Bill in the early 1830s.

Ftuence in the Miners' Association (see the trade-union histories listed in the Bibliography). Pelling's general survey also indicates that the direct links between trade unions and Chartism were 'rather tenuous' except in severe slumps; as Chartism became more violent, 'it increasingly separated itself from . . the trade unions as such' ([33] 34-5). S A. G. Rose, 'The Plug Riots of 1842 in Lancashire and Cheshire', Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society Transactions, LXVII (1957). 48 6 The (Old Model' Strengthened ALTHOUGH the Webbs exaggerated the debacle produced by the collapse of the 'Grand National', they recognised that 'the Trade Union Movement was not absolutely left for dead when Owen quitted the field' ([36J 168-79).

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