George Gordon Byron in the English Parliament
Lord George Gordon Byron
In the first half of the XIX century. England was shaken by the waves of a powerful Luddite * movement, uniting artisans in their ranks, in desperation smashing new machines, with the advent of which they lost their jobs or a significant part of their wages. The government of England, which cared exclusively about the income of factory owners, prepared a law (bill) that provided for the death penalty for destroyers of machine tools. Taking advantage of the traditional opening speech in Parliament, Byron delivered a speech in defense of disadvantaged workers, in which he sharply condemned those who were ready to value human life "below the cost of a hosiery machine." It was a daring challenge to the authorities, but, unfortunately, nothing more: despite the protest of the poet, the bill was adopted and became an instrument of brutal reprisal against the rebels (a few years later, Byron wrote "A Song for the Luddites",
During 1812-1813. the poet gave two speeches, one of which was devoted to the suffering of the Irish people under the rule of the English crown, and the second - to the topic of parliamentary immunity. Both of them, like the first performance, had no practical results. Byron cooled off for parliamentary sessions, and began to express his opinion on certain political issues in satirical verses that dispersed throughout the country and infuriated statesmen.