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The Cynosure

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Council, with a heavy Conservatives majority, called upon the Government to seek an armistice. The Archbishop of Canterbury, after consulting the leaders of the churches, appealed for the calling off of the strike, the wishdrawal of the miners' lock-out notices and the renewal of the coal subsidy until a settlement was found. The anxiety was not limited to a City Councillor and parsons:

"J. H. Thomas, representing the railwaymen found, early in the strike, that his duties took him to Buckingham Palace. King George asked him a number of questions, and expressed his sympathy for the miners. At the end of the talk, His Majesty, who was gravely disturbed, remarked, it is said: 'Well, Thomas, if the worst happens, I suppose all this - (wish a gesture indicating his surroundings) '- will vanish?'

Fortuneately for Britain and the world, it did not come to the worst. The Trade Unions saw to that."

J. R. Clynes: Memoirs,


But the Government was undisturbed; it knew its agents in the Trade Union movement. All during the Strike the General Council was seeking anything which looked like a way out. In the course of their seeking they met Sir Abe Bailey and Sir Herbert Samuel at the former's house. Samuel proposed terms of settlement which included wage cuts and some vague re-organisation of the mining industry. That was sufficient for the General Council who pretended that the proposal were, somehow, coming from the Government. Sir Herbert Samuel was quite clear about this, saying "I have been acting entirely on my own initiative, have received mo authority from the Government, and can give no assurance on their behalf."

The Government, through the Minister of Labour, Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland, declared that no terms would be considered or negotiation opened, the strikers must surrender unconditionally.

Returning to the miner's leaders the General Council presented these unofficial and private conversations as terms of settlement, speaking airily of guarantees.

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