“I was at yor hoose last neet, and meyd mysel very comfortable. Ye hey nee family, and yor just won man on the colliery, I see ye hev a greet lot of rooms, and big cellars, and plenty wine and beer in them, which I got ma share on. Noo I naw some at wor colliery that has three or fower lads and lasses, and they live in won room not half as gude as yor cellar. I don’t pretend to naw yaw very much, but I naw there shouldn’t be that much difference. The only place we can gan to o the week ends is the yel hoose and hev a pint. I dinna pretend to be a profit, but I naw this, and lots o ma marrows na’s te, that wer not tret as we owt to be, and a great filosopher says, to get noledge is to naw wer ignerent. But weve just begun to find that oot, and ye maisters and owners may luk oot, for yor not gan get se much o yor own way, wer gon hev some o wors now…”
-a note left in the house of a pit-ower, after it was broken into during a strike riot, 1831 Source: R. Fyne, The Miners of Northumberland and Durham (1923 ed.) p21 quoted in EP Thompson ‘The Making of The English Working Class’, Pelican, p785
I’ve had this quote at the back of my mind since last week, but I couldn’t place where I’d read it or remember it in total. Of course, it can be found in E.P Thompson’s classic “The Making of The English Working Class”. Its a very good example of how the wholly artificial divide between “political” and “apolitical” language is very precarious indeed.