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"Swing Riots"and "Machine Breakers" of Wiltshire
by Peter Charles Andrews
The "Swing Riots" and the machine breakers of Wiltshire became of interest to me whilst researching details of my ancestors Abraham & Sarah Andrews,who came to New South Wales on the ship "Woodbridge" arriving at Sydney Cove on the 15 September 1838. They were accompanied by their three young children,Jane,Eliza and George and also in the care of Abraham was a youth named James LUSH. I was curious to find out why an unrelated youth was coming to New South Wales with the Andrews.
My communication with a correspondent in England,first put me in contact with Jill Chambers who has written several books on the "Machine Breakers" one of which was of the swing riots and machine breakers of Wiltshire.
James Lush,the father of James Lush (jnr),who accompanied Abraham Andrews to New South Wales was sentenced to death for armed robbery at Salisbury Wiltshire,England on the 10 January 1831. The sentence was eventually commuted to transportation for life and James Lush senior was placed on the hulk "YORK" prior to his transportation on the Ship "Proteus" to Tasmania. Evidence was given at the trial of several men including James Lush and Peter Withers who were part of a mob who broke an agricultural machine owned by,one,Mr. Pinninger at his farm. They then went to Mr Pinninger and demanded money. Mr Pinninger who was aware of the mob's arrival armed himself with a brace of pistols,and also armed the servants. He resisted the mob and said he would shoot the first man that came on.One of the mob said "You can kill only one" and they came on,and pressed his men back. The mob was armed with sticks and iron bars. A scuffle broke out and Mr. Pinninger and some of his servants were injured,the time being 1oíclock in the morning. Mr Pinninger was forced to give the mob the sum of two sovereigns.
A petition forwarded to Lord Melbourne, when presented to the King was successful and the sentence commuted to transportation for life. The order for execution was to have taken place on Tuesday the 25th January 1831 and the success of the petition was not known by Lush and Withers until Monday the 24th January 1831.James Lush together with Peter Withers were transported on the ship Proteus which sailed for Tasmania on the 18th March 1831 and arrived at Hobart on the 3rd August 1831,a voyage of 138 days. James left behind a family of 5 or 6 children and his wife and it would appear his son James at the age of 17 years and some 7 years after his father's transportation decided to come to New South Wales. James (jnr) was known to have worked in the County of Argyle near Campbelltown as a farm servant and it is not known if he ever had the opportunity to visit his father. James (snr) formed an association with Elizabeth Nelson and they had children both in Tasmania and later when he was pardoned and moved to Victoria. James was apparently aware of his relations' whereabouts as records in the Liverpool NSW Asylum where James (jnr) died show that he did in fact have relatives in Victoria. James Senior died in Victoria in 1854 at the age of 66 years and Elizabeth Nelson in 1865 aged 56 years. James (jnr) died in the Liverpool Asylum of senile decay on the 4th May 1889 aged 66 years and was buried in the Liverpool cemetery on the 6th May 1889. Records indicated James (jnr) did not marry. It would appear that Abraham Andrews was no longer responsible for James Lush (Jnr) after the arrival of the ship Woodbridge and it is not known if there was any further contact. The place of employment of Abraham Andrews near Singleton NSW was 200 miles from the location of James Lush (jnr) in the County of Arygle near Campbelltown for a Mr. McAlister.