The bitter repression of the national wave of riots during the subsistence
crises of 1795–6 and 1800–1 led to the end of the food rioting tradition.
Only in the ‘Hungry Forties’ was hunger ‘rediscovered’, the ‘struggle over
the representation of scarcity’, as Peter Gurney has put it, being
particularly acute in the politicking of both Chartism and the Anti-Corn Law
League. So the received understanding goes. This chapter questions this
position and analyses the ways in which the discourses detailed in chapter
one persisted beyond 1801 and into the 1840s. In so doing it analyses the
claims made in threatening letters, legal defences and claims made to (and
quarrels with) poor law officials, as well as in popular political forms
including speeches, broadsides and ballads, and political journalism.