"There is some fear of the mob coming to destroy the works at Cromford, but they are well prepared to receive them should they come here. All the gentlemen in this neighbourhood being determined to defend the works, which have been of such utility to this country. 5,000 or 6,000 men can be at any time assembled in less than an hour by signals agreed upon, who are determined to defend to the very last extremity, the works, by which many hundreds of their wives and children get a decent and comfortable livelihood."

- The Derby Mercury (22 October, 1779)

The "works at Cromford" were the first cotton spinning mills built by Sir Richard Arkwright and utilizing the process he patented (but did not invent) in 1769. The success of these works in undercutting the cottage-spun output of thousands of workers throughout Britain earned him the acclaim of "Father of the Factory System" as well as the attention of those who failed to appreciate the juggernaut of industrial progress. While the disappearance of hand-work was obvious before 1794, government commissions were claiming as late as 1806 that the prevailing fear that domestic labor would disappear because of the rise of factories was unjustified. Sometimes, those in charge are the last to know what's going on.

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