[Note 199.5]

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Taxes may be a reference to Wellington's support for the continuation of the Corn Laws. The Duke's widespread unpopularity was demonstrated when he opened the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. Roy Palmer [i] offers two accounts.

M. Sturge Gretton wrote "My grandfather who was…one of the guests of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway on the occasion of the running of their first passenger train, used to recount how the duke of Wellington, who was also a guest, became plastered with mud in his efforts to shield the ladies from the filth that the populace, ranged along the line, was flinging at the travellers.

A Miss Fanny Kemble wrote of tricolour flags, cries of 'No corn Laws', and hissing and booing. "The vast concourse of people who had assembled [in Manchester] to witness the arrival of the successful travellers, was of the lowest order of mechanic and artisans, among whom great distress and a dangerous spirit of discontent with the Government at that time prevailed. Groans and hisses greeted the carriage full of influential personages in which the Duke of Wellington sat….High above the grim and grimy crowd of smiling faces a loom had been erected at which sat a tattered, starved-looking waver, evidently set there as a protest against the triumph of machinery, and the gain and the glory which the wealthy Liverpool and Manchester men were likely to derive from it."

Reference:
[i] Palmer, Roy (Ed) A Touch on the Times: songs of Social Change 1770 to 1914 (London, Penguin Books, 1974) pp36-37

 

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