e.p. thompson used this image as a heading of one of the sections in his “the making of the english working class”. this was a pass to gain entry into a luddite meeting. the luddites were opposed to the use of machines which enabled unskilled workers to turn out inferior goods at lower prices than hand made work. they marched in bands to any factory which used the new stocking frames and destroyed them.
this is from: e.p.thompson: the class struggle and historical materialism by david mcnally. see link below.
Against approaches to history which stress ‘great figures’ or great material changes–the opening of trade routes, the building of cotton mills–Thompson sought to emphasise the activity of ordinary labouring people as a central factor in the historical process. In doing so he hoped to affirm the fundamental dignity of the masses who make (and have made) history. ‘I am seeking’, he wrote in a memorable passage, ‘to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the “obselete” handloom weaver, the “utopian” artisan, and even the deluded follower of Joanna Southcott, from the enormous condescension of posterity.’7 These people mattered, Thompson insisted, because the English working class had been made not just by patterns of capital accumulation and market competition, but also by the ideas, aspirations and struggles of workers striving to influence the conditions of their lives.