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Home-Life of the Lancashire Factory Folk during the Cotton Famine by Edwin Waugh

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the cottage. The tiny house was exceedingly clean, and comfortably
furnished. Everything seemed to be in its appointed place, even to
the sleek cat sleeping on the hearth. There were a few books on a
shelf, and a concertina upon a little table in the corner. When we
entered, the old collier was busy with the slate and pencil, and an
arithmetic before him; but he laid them aside, and, doffing his
spectacles, began to talk with us. He said that they were a family
of six, and all out of work; but he said that, ever since he lost
his leg, the proprietors of the pit in which the accident happened
(Wright's) had allowed him a pension of six shillings a week, which
he considered very handsome. This allowance just kept the wolf from
their little door in these hard times. In the course of our
conversation I found that the old man read the papers frequently,
and that he was a man of more than common information in his class.
I should have been glad to stay longer with him, but my time was up;
so I came away from the town, thus ending my last ramble amongst the
unemployed operatives of Wigan. Since then the condition of the poor
there has been steadily growing worse, which is sure to be heard of
in the papers.



"Take physic, pomp!
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel;
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the Heavens more just."
--King Lear.

On the Saturday after my return from Wigan, a little incident fell
in my way, which I thought worth taking note of at the time; and
perhaps it may not be uninteresting to your readers. On that day I
went up to Levenshulme, to spend the afternoon with an old friend of
mine, a man of studious habits, living in a retired part of that
green suburb. The time went pleasantly by whilst I was with the calm
old student, conversing upon the state of Lancashire, and the
strange events which are upheaving the civilised world in great
billows of change,--and drinking in the peaceful charm which
pervaded everything about the man and his house and the scene which
it stood in.

After tea, he came with me across the fields to the "Midway Inn," on
Stockport Road, where the omnibuses call on their way to Manchester.
It was a lovely evening, very clear and cool, and twilight was
sinking upon the scene. Waiting for the next omnibus, we leaned
against the long wooden watering-trough in front of the inn. The
irregular old building looked picturesque in the soft light of
declining day, and all around was so still that we could hear the
voices of bowlers who were lingering upon the green, off at the
north side of the house, and retired from the highway by an
intervening garden. The varied tones of animation, and the phrases
uttered by the players, on different parts of the green, came
through the quiet air with a cheery ring. The language of the
bowling-green sounds very quaint to people unused to the game. "Too
much land, James!" cries one. "Bravo, bully-bowl! That's th' first
wood! Come again for more!" cries another. "Th' wrong bias, John!"
"How's that?" "A good road; but it wants legs! Narrow; narrow, o' to
pieces!" These, and such like phrases of the game, came distinctly
from the green into the highway that quiet evening. And here I am
reminded, as I write, that the philosophic Doctor Dalton was a
regular bowler upon Tattersall's green, at Old Trafford. These
things, however, are all aside from the little matters which I wish
to tell.

As we stood by the watering-trough, listening to the voices of the
bowlers, and to the occasional ringing of bells mingled with a low
buzz of merriment inside the house, there were many travellers went
by. They came, nearly all of them, from the Manchester side;
sometimes three or four in company, and sometimes a lonely
straggler. Some of them had poor-looking little bundles in their
hands; and, with a few exceptions, their dress, their weary gait,
and dispirited looks led me to think that many of them were
unemployed factory operatives, who had been wandering away to beg
where they would not be known. I have met so many shame-faced,
melancholy people in that condition during the last few months,
that, perhaps, I may have somewhat over judged the number of these
that belongs to that class. But, in two or three cases, little
snatches of conversation, uttered by them as they went by, plainly
told that, so far as the speakers went, it was so; and, at last, a
little thing befell, which, I am sure, represented the condition of
many a thousand more in Lancashire just now. Three young women
stopped on the footpath in front of the inn, close to the place
where we stood, and began to talk together in a very free, open way,
quite careless of being overheard. One of them was a stout, handsome
young woman, about twenty-three. Her dress was of light printed
stuff, clean and good. Her round, ruddy arms, her clear blond
complexion, and the bright expression of her full open countenance,
all indicated health and good-nature. I guessed from her
conversation, as well as from her general appearance, that she was a
factory operative in full employ--though that is such a rare thing
in these parts now. The other two looked very poor and downhearted.
One was a short, thick-set girl, seemingly not twenty years of age;
her face was sad, and she had very little to say. The other was a
thin, dark-haired, cadaverous woman, above thirty years of age, as I
supposed; her shrunk visage was the picture of want, and her frank,
child-like talk showed great simplicity of character. The weather
had been wet for some days previous; and the clothing of the two
looked thin, and shower-stained. It had evidently been worn a good
while; and the colours were faded. Each of them wore a shivery bit
of shawl, in which their hands were folded, as if to keep them warm.
The handsome lass, who seemed to be in good employ, knew them both;
but she showed an especial kindness towards the eldest of them.

As these two stood talking to their friend, we did not take much
notice of what they were saying until two other young women came
slowly from townwards, looking poor, and tired, and ill, like the
first. These last comers instantly recognised two of those who stood
talking together in front of the inn, and one of them said to the
other, "Eh, sitho; there's Sarah an' Martha here! . . . Eh, lasses;
han yo bin a-beggin' too?" "Ay, lass; we han;" replied the thin,
dark complexioned woman; "Ay, lass; we han. Aw've just bin tellin'
Ann, here. Aw never did sich a thing i' my life afore--never! But
it's th' first time and th' last for me,--it is that! Aw'll go
whoam; an' aw'll dee theer, afore aw'll go a-beggin' ony moor, aw
will for sure! Mon, it's sich a nasty, dirty job; aw'd as soon clem!
. . . See yo, lasses; we set off this mornin'--Martha an' me, we set
eawt this mornin' to go to Gorton Tank, becose we yerd that it wur
sich a good place. But one doesn't know wheer to go these times; an'
one doesn't like to go a-beggin' among folk at they known. Well,
when we coom to Gorton we geet twopence-hawpenny theer; an' that wur
o'. Neaw, there's plenty moor beggin' besides us. Well, at after
that twopence-hawpenny, we geet twopence moor, an' that's o' at we'n
getten. But, eh, lasses, when aw coom to do it, aw hadn't th' heart
to as for nought; aw hadn't for sure. . . . Martha an' me's walked
aboon ten mile iv we'n walked a yard; an' we geet weet through th'
first thing; an' aw wur ill when we set off, an' so wur Martha, too;
aw know hoo wur, though hoo says nought. Well; we coom back through
t' teawn; an' we were both on us fair stagged up. Aw never were so
done o'er i' my life, wi' one thing an' another. So we co'de a-
seein' Ann here; an' hoo made us a rare good baggin'--th' lass did.
See yo; aw wur fit to drop o'th flags afore aw geet that saup o'
warm tay into mo--aw wur for sure! An' neaw, hoo's come'd a gate wi'
us hitherto, an' hoo would have us to have a glass o' warm ale a-
piece at yon heawse lower deawn a bit; an' aw dar say it'll do mo
good, aw getten sich a cowd; but, eh dear, it's made mo as mazy as a
tup; an' neaw, hoo wants us to have another afore we starten off
whoam. But it's no use; we mun' be gooin' on. Aw'm noan used to it,
an' aw connot ston it. Aw'm as wake as a kittlin' this minute."

Ann, who had befriended them in this manner, was the handsome young
woman who seemed to be in work; and now, the poor woman who had been
telling the story, laid her hand upon her friend's shoulder and
said, "Ann, thae's behaved very weel to us o' roads; an' neaw, lass,
go thi ways whoam, an' dunnut fret abeawt us, mon. Aw feel better
neaw, aw do for sure. We's be reet enough to-morn, lass. Mon,
there's awlus some way shap't. That tay's done me a deeol o' good. .
. . Go thi ways whoam, Ann; neaw do; or else aw shan't be yezzy
abeawt tho!" But Ann, who was wiping her eyes with her apron,
replied, "Naw, naw; aw will not go yet, Sarah!" . . . And then she
began to cry, "Eh, lasses; aw dunnot like to see yo o' this shap--aw
dunnot for sure! Besides, yo'n bin far enough today. Come back wi'
me. Aw connot find reawm for both on yo; but thee come back wi' me,
Sarah. Aw'll find thee a good bed: an' thae'rt welcome to a share
o' what there is--as welcome as th' fleawers i May--thae knows that.
Thae'rt th' owdest o' th' two; an thae'rt noan fit to trawnce up an'
deawn o' this shap. Come back to eawr heawse; an' Martha'll go
forrud to Stopput, (Stockport,)--winnot tho, Martha! . . . Thae
knows, Martha," continued she, "thae knows, Martha, thae munnot
think nought at me axin' Sarah, an' noan o' thee. Yo should both on
yo go back iv aw'd reawm,--but aw haven't. Beside, thae'rt younger
an' strunger than hoo is." " Eh, God bless tho, lass," replied
Martha, "aw know o' abeawt it. Aw'd rayther Sarah would stop, for
hoo'll be ill. Aw can go forrud by mysel', weel enough. It's noan so
fur, neaw." But, here, Sarah, the eldest of the three, laid her hand
once more upon the shoulder of her friend, and said in an earnest
tone, "Ann! it will not do, my lass! Go aw MUN! I never wur away fro
whoam o' neet i my life,--never! Aw connot do it, mon! Beside, thae
knows, aw've laft yon lad, an' never a wick soul wi' him! He'd fret
hissel' to deoth this neet, mon, if aw didn't go whoam! Aw couldn't
sleep a wink for thinkin' abeawt him! Th' child would be fit to
start eawt o'th heawse i'th deead time o'th neet a-seechin' mo,--aw
know he would! . . . Aw mun go, mon: God bless tho, Ann; aw'm
obleeged to thee o' th' same. But, thae knows heaw it is. Aw mun

Here the omnibus came up, and I rode back to Manchester. The whole
conversation took up very little more time than it will take to read
it; but I thought it worth recording, as characteristic of the
people now suffering in Lancashire from no fault of their own. I
know the people well. The greatest number of them would starve
themselves to that degree that they would not be of much more
physical use in this world, before they would condescend to beg. But
starving to death is hard work. What will winter bring to them when
severe weather begins to tell upon constitutions lowered in tone by
a starvation diet--a diet so different to what they have been used
to when in work? What will the 1s. 6d. a-head weekly do for them in
that hard time? If something more than this is not done for them,
when more food, clothing, and fire are necessary to everybody,
calamities may arise which will cost England a hundred times more
than a sufficient relief--a relief worthy of those who are
suffering, and of the nation they belong to--would have cost. In the
meantime the cold wings of winter already begin to overshadow the
land; and every day lost involves the lives, or the future
usefulness, of thousands of our best population.



"For whom the heart of man shuts out,
Straightway the heart of God takes in,
And fences them all round about
With silence, 'mid the world's loud din.
And one of his great charities
Is music; and it doth not scorn
To close the lids upon the eyes
Of the weary and forlorn."

There is one feature of the distress in Lancashire which was seen
strikingly upon the streets of our large towns during some months of
1862. I allude to the wandering minstrelsy of the unemployed. Swarms
of strange, shy, sad-looking singers and instrumental performers, in
the work-worn clothing of factory operatives, went about the busy
city, pleading for help in touching wails of simple song--like so
many wild birds driven by hard weather to the haunts of man. There
is something instructive, as well as affecting, in this feature of
the troubled time. These wanderers are only a kind of representative
overflow of a vast number whom our streets will never see. Any one
well acquainted with Lancashire, will know how widespread the study
of music is among its working population. Even the inhabitants of
our large towns know something more about this now than they knew a
few months ago. I believe there is no part of England in which the
practice of sacred music is so widely and lovingly pursued amongst
the working people as in the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
There is no part of England where, until lately, there have been so
many poor men's pianos, which have been purchased by a long course
of careful savings from the workman's wages. These, of course, have
mostly been sold during the hard times to keep life in the owner and
his family. The great works of Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart
have solaced the toil of thousands of the poorest working people of
Lancashire. Anybody accustomed to wander among the moorlands of the
country will remember how common it is to hear the people practising
sacred music in their lonely cottages. It is not uncommon to meet
working men wandering over the wild hills, "where whip and heather
grow," with their musical instruments, to take part in some village
oratorio many miles away. "That reminds me," as tale-tellers say, of
an incident among the hills, which was interesting, though far from
singular in my experience.

Up in the forest of Rosendale, between Derply Moor and the wild bill
called Swinshaw, there is a little lone valley, a green cup in the
mountains, called "Dean." The inhabitants of this valley are so
notable for their love of music, that they are known all through the
vales of Rosendale as "Th' Deighn Layrocks," or "The Larks of Dean."
In the twilight of a glorious Sunday evening, in the height of
summer, I was roaming over the heathery waste of Swinshaw, towards
Dean, in company with a musical friend of mine, who lived in the
neighbouring clough, when we saw a little crowd of people coming
down a moorland slope, far away in front of us. As they drew nearer,
we found that many of them had musical instruments, and when we met,
my friend recognised them as working people living in the district,
and mostly well known to him. He inquired where they had been; and
they told him that they had "bin to a bit ov a sing deawn i'th
Deighn." "Well," said he, "can't we have a tune here?" "Sure, yo
con, wi' o' th' plezzur i'th world," replied he who acted as
spokesman; and a low buzz of delighted consent ran through the rest
of the company. They then ranged themselves in a circle around their
conductor, and they played and sang several fine pieces of psalmody
upon the heather-scented mountain top. As those solemn strains
floated over the wild landscape, startling the moorfowl untimely in
his nest, I could not help thinking of the hunted Covenanters of
Scotland. The all-together of that scene upon the mountains,
"between the gloaming and the mirk," made an impression upon me
which I shall not easily forget. Long after we parted from them we
could hear their voices, softening in sound as the distance grew,
chanting on their way down the echoing glen, and the effect was
wonderfully fine. This little incident upon the top of Swinshaw is
representative of things which often occur in the country parts of
Lancashire, showing how widespread the love of music is among the
working classes there. Even in great manufacturing towns, it is very
common, when passing cotton mills at work, to hear some fine psalm
tune streaming in chorus from female voices, and mingling with the
spoom of thousands of spindles. The "Larks of Dean," like the rest
of Lancashire operatives, must have suffered in this melancholy
time; but I hope that the humble musicians of our county will never
have occasion to hang their harps upon the willows.

Now, when fortune has laid such a load of sorrow upon the working
people of Lancashire, it is a sad thing to see so many workless
minstrels of humble life "chanting their artless notes in simple
guise" upon the streets of great towns, amongst a kind of life they
are little used to. There is something very touching, too, in their
manner and appearance. They may be ill-shod and footsore; they may
be hungry, and sick at heart, and forlorn in countenance, but they
are almost always clean and wholesome-looking in person. They come
singing in twos and threes, and sometimes in more numerous bands, as
if to keep one another in countenance. Sometimes they come in a
large family all together, the females with their hymn-books, and
the men with their different musical instruments,--bits of pet
salvage from the wrecks of cottage homes. The women have sometimes
children in their arms, or led by the hand; and they sometimes carry
music-books for the men. I have seen them, too, with little
handkerchiefs of rude provender for the day. As I said before, they
are almost invariably clean in person, and their clothing is almost
always sound and seemly in appearance, however poor and scanty.
Amongst these poor wanderers there is none of the reckless personal
negligence and filth of hopeless reprobacy; neither is there a
shadow of the professional ostentation of poverty amongst them.
Their faces are sad, and their manners very often singularly shame-
faced and awkward; and any careful observer would see at a glance
that these people were altogether unused to the craft of the trained
minstrel of the streets. Their clear, healthy complexion, though
often touched with pallor, their simple, unimportunate demeanour,
and the general rusticity of their appearance, shows them to be

"Suppliants who would blush
To wear a tatter'd garb, however coarse;
Whom famine cannot reconcile to filth;
Who ask with painful shyness, and refused,
Because deserving, silently retire."

The females, especially the younger ones, generally walk behind,
blushing and hiding themselves as much as possible. I have seen the
men sometimes walk backwards, with their faces towards those who
were advancing, as if ashamed of what they were doing. And thus they
went wailing through the busy streets, whilst the listening crowd
looks on them pityingly and wonderingly, as if they were so many
hungry shepherds from the mountains of Calabria. This flood of
strange minstrels partly drowned the slang melodies and the
monotonous strains of ordinary street musicians for a while. The
professional gleeman "paled his ineffectual fire" before these
mournful songsters. I think there never was so much sacred music
heard upon the streets of Manchester before. With the exception of a
favourite glee now and then, their music consisted chiefly of fine
psalm tunes--often plaintive old strains, known and welcome to all,
because they awaken tender and elevating remembrances of life.
"Burton," "French," "Kilmarnock," "Luther's Hymn," the grand "Old
Hundred," and many other fine tunes of similar character, have
floated daily in the air of our city, for months together. I am sure
that this choice does not arise from the minstrels themselves having
craft enough to select "a mournful muse, soft pity to infuse." It is
the kind of music which has been the practice and pleasure of their
lives, and it is a fortuitous thing that now, in addition to its
natural plaintiveness, the sad necessity of the times lends a tender
accompaniment to their simplest melody. I doubt very much whether
Leech's minor tunes were ever heard upon our streets till lately.
Leech was a working man, born near the hills, in Lancashire; and his
anthems and psalm tunes are great favourites among the musical
population, especially in the country districts. Leech's harp was
tuned by the genius of sorrow. Several times lately I have heard the
tender complaining notes of his psalmody upon the streets of the
city. About three months ago I heard one of his most pathetic tunes
sung in the market-place by an old man and two young women. The old
man's dress had the peculiar hue and fray of factory work upon it,
and he had a pair of clogs upon his stockingless feet. They were
singing one of Leech's finest minor tunes to Wesley's hymn:-

"And am I born to die,
To lay this body down?
And must my trembling spirit fly
Into a world unknown?
A land of deepest shade,
Unpierced by human thought;
The dreary country of the dead
Where all things are forgot."

It is a tune often sung by country people in Lancashire at funerals;
and, if I remember right, the same melody is cut upon Leech's
gravestone in the old Wesleyan Chapel-yard, at Rochdale. I saw a
company of minstrels of the same class going through Brown Street,
the other day, playing and singing,

"In darkest shades, if Thou appear,
My dawning is begun."

The company consisted of an old man, two young men, and three young
women. Two of the women had children in their arms. After I had
listened to them a little while, thinking the time and the words a
little appropriate to their condition, I beckoned to one of the
young men, who came "sidling" slowly up to me. I asked him where
they came from, and he said, "Ash'n." In answer to another question,
he said, "We're o' one family. Me an' yon tother's wed. That's his
wife wi' th' chylt in her arms, an' hur wi' th' plod shawl on's
mine." I asked if the old man was his father. "Ay," replied he,
"we're o' here, nobbut two. My mother's ill i' bed, an' one o' my
sisters is lookin' after her." " Well, an' heaw han yo getten on?"
said I. "Oh, we'n done weel; but we's come no moor," replied he.
Another day, there was an instrumental band of these operatives
playing sacred music close to the Exchange lamp. Amongst the crowd
around, I met with a friend of mine. He told me that the players
were from Staleybridge. They played some fine old tunes, by desire,
and, among the rest, they played one called "Warrington. "When they
had played it several times over, my friend turned to me and said,
"That tune was composed by a Rev. Mr Harrison, who was once minister
of Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, in Manchester; and, one day, an
old weaver, who had come down from the hills, many miles, staff in
hand, knocked at the minister's door, and asked if there was 'a
gentleman co'de' Harrison lived theer?' 'Yes.' 'Could aw see him?'
'Yes.' When the minister came to the door, the old weaver looked
hard at him, for a minute, and said, 'Are yo th' mon 'at composed
that tune co'de Worrington?' 'Yes,' replied the minister, 'I believe
I am.' 'Well,' said the old weaver, 'give me your hond! It's a good
un!' He then shook hands with him heartily again, and saying, 'Well,
good day to yo,' he went his way home again, before the old minister
could fairly collect his scattered thoughts."

I do not know how it is that these workless minstrels are gradually
becoming rarer upon the streets than they were a few months ago.
Perhaps it is because the unemployed are more liberally relieved now
than they were at first. I know that now many who have concealed
their starving condition are ferreted out and relieved as far as
possible. Many of these street wanderers have gone home again
disgusted, to pinch out the hard time in proud obscurity; and there
are some, no doubt, who have wandered away to other parts of
England. Of these last, we may naturally expect that a few may
become so reconciled to a life of wandering minstrelsy that they may
probably never return to settled labour again. But "there's a
divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will." Let us
trust that the Great Creator may comfort and relieve them,
"according to their several necessities, giving them patience under
their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions."



The following extracts are from the letters of Mr. John Whittaker,
"A Lancashire Lad," one of the first writers whose appeals through
the press drew serious attention to the great distress in Lancashire
during the Cotton Famine. There is no doubt that his letters in The
Times, and to the Lord Mayor of London, led to the Mansion House
Fund. In The Times of April 14, 1862, appeared the first of a series
of letters, pleading the cause of the distressed operatives. He

"I am living in the centre of a vast district where there are many
cotton mills, which in ordinary times afford employment to many
thousands of 'hands,' and food to many more thousands of mouths.
With rare exceptions, quietness reigns at all those mills. . . . It
may be that our material atmosphere is somewhat brighter than it
was, but our social atmosphere is much darker and denser. Hard times
have come; and we have had them sufficiently long to know what they
mean. We have fathers sitting in the house at mid-day, silent and
glum, while children look wistfully about, and sometimes whimper for
bread which they cannot have. We have the same fathers who, before
hard times came, were proud men, who would have thought 'beggar' the
most opprobrious epithet you could have hit them with; but who now
are made humble by the sight of wife and children almost starving,
and who go before 'relief committees,' and submit to be questioned
about their wants with a patience and humility which it is painful,
almost schocking, to witness, And some others of these fathers turn
out in the morning with long besoms as street-sweepers, while others
again go to breaking stones in the town's yard or open road-side,
where they are unprotected from the keen east winds, which add a
little more to the burden of misery which they have to bear just
now. But, harder even than this, our factory-women and girls have
had to turn out; and, plodding a weary way from door to door, beg a
bit of bread or a stray copper, that they may eke out the scanty
supply at home. Only the other day, while taking a long stroll in
the country lying about the town in which I live, I met a few of
these factory-girls, and was stopped by their not very beggar-like
question of 'Con yo help us a bit?' They were just such as my own
sisters; and as I saw and heard them, I was almost choked as I
fancied my sisters come to such a pass as that. 'Con yo help us a
bit?' asked these factory girls.

. . . I have heard of ladies whose whole lives seem to be but a
changing from one kind of pleasure to another; who suffer chiefly
from what they call ennui, (a kind of disease from which my sisters
are not likely to suffer at all,) and to whom a new pleasure to
enjoy would be something like what a new world to conquer would be
to Alexander. Why should they not hear our Lancashire girls' cry of
'Con yo help us a bit?' Why should not they be reminded that these
girls in cotton gowns and wooden clogs are wending their way towards
the same heaven--or, alas, towards the same hell--whither wend all
the daughters of Eve, no matter what their outer condition and
dress? Why should not they be asked to think how these striving
girls have to pray daily, 'Lead us not into temptation,' while
temptations innumerable stand everywhere about them?

Those of us who are men would rather do much than let our sisters go
begging. May not some of us take to doing more to prevent it? I
remember some poetry about the

'Sister bloodhounds, Want and Sin,'

and know that they hunt oftener together than singly. We have felt
the fangs of the first: upon how many of us will the second

In a second letter, inserted in The Times of April 22, 1862, the
same writer says:--"Even during the short time which has elapsed
since I wrote last week, many things have combined to show that the
distress is rapidly increasing, and that there is a pressing need
that we should go beyond the borders of our own county for help. . .
. I remember what I have read of the Godlike in man, and I look with
a strange feeling upon the half-famished creatures I see hourly
about me. I cannot pass through a street but I see evidences of deep
distress. I cannot sit at home half-an-hour without having one or
more coming to ask for bread to eat. But what comes casually before
me is as nothing when compared with that deeper distress which can
only be seen by those who seek it. . . . There have been families
who have been so reduced that the only food they have had has been a
porridge made of Indian meal. They could not afford oatmeal, and
even of their Indian meal porridge they could only afford to have
two meals a day. They have been so ashamed of their coarser food
that they have done all that was possible to hide their desperate
state from those about them. It has only been by accident that it
has been found out, and then they have been caught hurriedly putting
away the dishes that contained their loathsome food. A woman, whose
name I could give, and whose dwelling I could point to, was said not
only to be in deep distress, but to be also ill of fever. She was
visited. On entering the lower room of the house, the visitors saw
that there was not a scrap of furniture; the woman, fever-stricken,
sat on an orange-box before a low fire; and to prevent the fire from
going quite out, she was pulling her seat to pieces for fuel bit by
bit. The visitors looked upstairs. There was no furniture there--
only a bit of straw in a corner, which served as the bed of the
woman's four children. In another case a woman, who was said to be
too weak to apply for relief, was visited. Her husband had been out
of work a long time by reason of his illness; he was now of a
fashion recovered, and had gone off to seek for work. He left his
wife and three children in their cellar-home. The wife was very near
her confinement, and had not tasted food for two or three days. . .
. There are in this town some hundreds of young single women who
have been self-dependent, but who are now entirely without means.
Nearly all of these are good English girls, who have quietly fought
their own life-battle, but who now have hard work to withstand the
attacks this grim poverty is making. I am told of a case in which
one of these girls was forced to become one of that class of whom
poor Hood sang in his 'Bridge of Sighs.' She was an orphan, had no
relations here, and was tossed about from place to place till she
found her way to a brothel. Thank God, she has been rescued. Our
relief fund has been the means of relieving her from that
degradation; but cannot those who read my letter see how strong are
the temptations which their want places in the way of these poor

On 25th April a number of city merchants, most of whom were
interested in the cotton manufacture, waited upon the Lord Mayor of
London, with a view to interest him, and through him the public at
large, in the increasing distress among the operative population in
the manufacturing districts of Lancashire. Previous to this, the
"Lancashire Lad" had made a private appeal, by letter, to the Lord
Mayor, in which he said:-

"Local means are nearly exhausted, and I am convinced that if we
have not help from without, our condition will soon be more
desperate than I or any one else who possesses human feelings can
wish it to become. To see the homes of those whom we know and
respect, though they are but working men, stripped of every bit of
furniture--to see long-cherished books and pictures sent one by one
to the pawn-shop, that food may be had--and to see that food almost
loathsome in kind, and insufficient in quantity,--are hard, very
hard things to bear. But those are not the worst things. In many of
our cottage homes there is now nothing left by the pawning of which
a few pence may be raised, and the mothers and sisters of we
'Lancashire lads' have turned out to beg, and ofttimes knock at the
doors of houses in which there is as much destitution as there is in
our own; while the fathers and the lads themselves think they are
very fortunate if they can earn a shilling or two by street-sweeping
or stone breaking. . . . Will you not do for us what you have done
for others--become the recipient of whatever moneys those who are
inclined to help us may send to you?"

The Lord Mayor, having listened to the deputation, read them the
personal appeal, and, "before separating, the deputation engaged to
form themselves into a provisional committee, to correspond with any
local one which circumstances might render it desirable to set on
foot in some central part of the distressed districts." Immediately
afterwards, the Lord Mayor, on taking his seat in the justice-room,
stated that "he was ready, with the assistance of the gentlemen of
the deputation, to act in the way desired. . . . He could not
himself take any part in the distribution. All he could do was to be
the medium of transmission; and as soon as he knew that some
organisation had been formed, either in the great city of
Manchester, or in some other part of Lancashire, in which the public
might feel confidence, he should be ready to send the small sums he
had already received, and any others that might be intrusted to him
from time to time." And thus originated the first general
subscription for the cotton operatives, and which, before it closed,
reached the magnificent sum of 528 pounds,336, 9s. 9d.


On the 29th of April 1862, a meeting of gentlemen residents, called
by Thomas Goadsby, Esq., Mayor of Manchester, was held in the Town
Hall of that city, to consider the propriety of forming a relief
committee. '"The late Mr Richard Cobden, M.P., attended, and
recommended a bold appeal to the whole country, declaring with
prophetic keenness of vision that not less than 1,000,000 pounds
would be required to carry the suffering operatives through the
crisis, whilst the subscriptions up to that date amounted only to
180,000 pounds." On the motion of a vote of thanks to the Mayor of
Manchester, who was retiring from the mayoralty, Mr Cobden said:-

"Before that resolution is passed, I will take the opportunity of
making an observation. I have had the honour of having my name added
to this committee, and the first thing I asked of my neighbour here
was--'What are the functions of the general committee?' And I have
heard that they amount to nothing more than to attend here once a
month, and receive the report of the executive committee as to the
business done and the distribution of the funds. I was going to
suggest to you whether the duties of the general committee might not
be very much enlarged--whether it might not be employed very
usefully in increasing the amount of subscriptions. I think all our
experience must have taught us that, with the very best cause in the
world in hand, the success of a public subscription depends very
much upon the amount of activity in those who solicit it; and I
think, in order to induce us to make a general and national effort
to raise additional funds in this great emergency, it is only
necessary to refer to and repeat one or two facts that have been
stated in this report just read to us. I find it stated that it is
estimated that the loss of wages at present is at the rate of
136,094 pounds per week, and there is no doubt that the savings of
the working classes are almost exhausted. Now, 136,094 pounds per
week represents upwards of 7,000,000 pounds sterling per annum, and
that is the rate at which the deduction is now being made from the
wages of labour in this district.

I see it stated in this report that the resources which this
committee can at present foresee that it will possess to relieve
this amount of distress are 25,000 pounds a month for the next five
months, which is at the rate of 300,000 pounds per annum; so that we
foresee at present the means of affording a relief of something less
than five per cent upon the actual amount of the loss of wages at
present incurred by the working classes of this country. But I need
not tell honourable gentlemen present, who are so practically
acquainted with this district, that that loss of seven millions in
wages per annum is a very imperfect measure of the amount of
suffering and loss which will be inflicted on this community three
or four months hence. It may be taken to be 10,000,000 pounds; and
that 10,000,000 pounds of loss of wages before the next spring is by
no means a measure of the loss this district will incur; for you
must take it that the capitalists will be incurring also a loss on
their fixed machinery and buildings; and though perhaps not so much
as that of the labourer, it will be a very large amount, and
possibly, in the opinion of some people, will very nearly approach

That is not all: Mr Farnall has told us that at present the
increase of the rates in this district is at the rate of 10,000
pounds per week. That will be at the rate of half a million per
annum, and, of course, if this distress goes on, that rate must be
largely increased, perhaps doubled. This shows the amount of
pressure which is threatening this immediate district. I have always
been of opinion that this distress and suffering must be cumulative
to a degree which few people have ever foreseen, because your means
of meeting the difficulty will diminish just in proportion as the
difficulty will increase. Mr Farnall has told us that one-third of
the rateable property will fall out of existence, as it were, and
future rates must be levied upon two-thirds. But that will be by no
means the measure of the condition of things two or three months
hence, because every additional rate forces out of existence a large
amount of saleable property; and the more you increase your rates
the more you diminish the area over which those rates are to be
productive. This view of the case has a very important bearing,
also, upon the condition of the shop-keeping class as well as the
classes of mill-owners and manufacturers who have not a large amount
of floating capital. There is no doubt but a very large amount of
the shopkeeping class are rapidly falling into the condition of the
unemployed labourers.

When I was at Rochdale the other day, I heard a very sorrowful
example of it. There was a poor woman who kept a shop, and she was
threatened with a distraint for her poor-rate. She sold the Sunday
clothes of her son to pay the poor-rate, and she received a relief-
ticket when she went to leave her rate. That is a sad and sorrowful
example, but I am afraid it will not be a solitary one for a long
time. Then you have the shopkeeping class descending to the rank of
the operatives. It must be so. Withdraw the custom of 7,000,000
pounds per annum, which has ceased to be paid in wages, from the
shopkeepers, and the consequence must present itself to any rational
mind. We have then another class--the young men of superior
education employed in warehouses and counting-houses. A great number
of these will rapidly sink to the condition in which you find the
operative classes. All this will add to the distress and the
embarrassment of this part of the kingdom. Now, to meet this state
of things you have the poor-law relief, which is the only relief we
can rely upon, except that which comes from our own voluntary
exertions. Well, but any one who has read over this report of Mr
Farnall, just laid before us, must see how inadequate this relief
must be. It runs up from one shilling and a half-penny in the pound
to one shilling and fourpence or one shilling and fivepence; there
is hardly one case in which the allowance is as much as two
shillings per week for each individual--I won't call them paupers--
each distressed individual.

Now, there is one point to which I would wish to bring the attention
of the committee in reference to this subject--it is a most
important one, in my appreciation. In ordinary times, when you give
relief to the poor, that relief being given when the great mass of
workpeople are in full employment, the measure of your relief to an
isolated family or two that may be in distress is by no means the
measure of the amount of their subsistence, because we all know that
in prosperous times, when the bulk of the working people are
employed, they are always kind to each other. The poor, in fact, do
more to relieve the poor than any other class. A working man and his
family out of employment in prosperous times could get a meal at a
neighbour's house, just as we, in our class, could get a meal at a
neighbour's house if it was a convenience to us in making a journey.
But recollect, now the whole mass of the labouring and working
population is brought down to one sad level of destitution, and what
you allow them from the poor-rates, and what you allow them from
these voluntary subscriptions, are actually the measure of all that
they will obtain for their subsistence. And that being so general,
producing a great depression of spirits, as well as physical
prostration, you are in great danger of the health and strength of
this community suffering, unless something more be done to meet the
case than I fear is yet provided for it. All this brings me to this
conclusion--that something more must be done by this general
committee than has been done, to awaken the attention of the public
generally to the condition of this part of the country. It is
totally exceptional. The state of things has no parallel in all
history. It is impossible you could point out to me another case, in
which, in a limited sphere, such as we have in Lancashire, and in
the course of a few months, there has been a cessation of employment
at the rate of 7,000,000 pounds sterling per annum in wages. There
has been nothing like it in the history of the world for its
suddenness, for the impossibility of dealing with it, or managing it
in the way of an effective remedy.

Well, the country at large must be made acquainted with these facts.
How is that to be done? It can only be by the diffusion of
information from this central committee. An appeal must be made to
the whole country, if this great destitution is to be met in any
part by voluntary aid. The nation at large must be made fully
acquainted with the exigency of the case, and we must be reminded
that a national responsibility rests upon us. I will, therefore,
suggest that this general committee should be made a national
committee, and we shall then get rid of this little difficulty with
the Lord Mayor. We shall want all the co-operation of the Lord Mayor
and the city of London; and I say that this committee, instead of
being a Manchester or Lancashire central committee, should be made a
national committee; that from this should go forth invitations to
all parts of the country, beginning with the lords-lieutenant,
inviting them to be vice-presidents of this committee. Let the noble
Lord continue to be at the head of the general committee--the
national committee--and invite every mayor to take part. We are
going to have new mayors in the course of the week, and, though I am
sorry to lose our present one, yet when new mayors come in, they may
be probably more ready to take up a new undertaking than if they had
just been exhausted with a years labour. Let every mayor in the
kingdom be invited to become a member of this committee. Let
subscription-circulars be despatched to them asking them to organise
a committee in every borough; and let there be a secretary and
honorary secretary employed. Through these bodies you might
communicate information, and counteract those misrepresentations
that have been made with regard to the condition of this district.

You might, if necessary, send an ambassador to some of those more
important places; but better still, if you could induce them to send
some one here to look into the state of things for themselves;
because I am sure if they did, so far from finding the calumnies
that have been uttered against the propertied classes in this county
being well founded, they would find instances--and not a few--of
great liberality and generosity, such as I think would surprise any
one who visited this district from the southern part of the kingdom.

This would only be done by an active effort from the centre here,
and I submit that we shall not be doing justice to this effort
unless we give to the whole country an opportunity of co-operating
in that way, and throw upon every part of the kingdom a share of the
responsibility of this great crisis and emergency. I submit that
there is every motive why this community, as well as the whole
kingdom, should wish to preserve this industrious population in
health and in the possession of their energies. There is every
motive why we should endeavour to keep this working population here
rather than drive them away from here, as you will do if they are
not sufficiently fed and clothed during the next winter. They will
be wanted again if this district is to revive, as we all hope and
believe it will revive. Your fixed capital here is of no use without
the population. It is of no use without your raw material.
Lancashire is the richest county in the kingdom when its machinery
is employed; it is the poorest county in the kingdom when its
machinery and fixed capital are paralysed, as at present. Therefore,
I say it is the interest, not only of this community, but of the
kingdom, that this population should be preserved for the time--I
hope not a distant time--when the raw material of their industry
will be supplied to this region.

I submit; then, to the whole kingdom--this district as well as the
rest--that it will be advisable, until Parliament meets, that such
an effort should be made as will make a national subscription amount
probably to 1,000,000 pounds. Short of that, it would be utterly
insufficient for the case; and I believe that, with an energetic
appeal made to the whole country, and an effort organised such as I
have indicated, such an amount might be raised."



The thirteen hundred circulars issued by the Earl of Sefton, Lord-
Lieutenant of Lancashire, "brought together such a gathering of
rank, and wealth, and influence, as is not often to be witnessed;
and the eloquent advocate of class distinctions and aristocratic
privileges (the Earl of Derby) became on that day the powerful and
successful representative of the poor and helpless." Called upon by
the chairman, the Earl of Derby said:-

"My Lord Sefton, my Lords and Gentlemen,--We are met together upon
an occasion which must call forth the most painful, and at the same
time ought to excite, and I am sure will excite, the most kindly
feelings of our human nature. We are met to consider the best means
of palliating--would to God that I could say removing!--a great
national calamity, the like whereof in modern times has never been
witnessed in this favoured land--a calamity which it was impossible
for those who are the chief sufferers by it to foresee, or, if they
had foreseen, to have taken any steps to avoid--a calamity which,
though shared by the nation at large, falls more peculiarly and with
the heaviest weight upon this hitherto prosperous and wealthy
district--a calamity which has converted this teeming hive of
industry into a stagnant desert of compulsory inaction and idleness-
-a calamity which has converted that which was the source of our
greatest wealth into the deepest abyss of impoverishment--a calamity
which has impoverished the wealthy, which has reduced men of easy
fortunes to the greatest straits, which has brought distress upon
those who have hitherto been somewhat above the world by the
exercise of frugal industry, and which has reduced honest and
struggling poverty to a state of absolute and humiliating
destitution. Gentlemen, it is to meet this calamity that we are met
together this day, to add our means and our assistance to those
efforts which have been so nobly made throughout the country
generally, and, I am bound to say, in this county also, as I shall
prove to you before I conclude my remarks. Gentlemen, I know how
impossible it is by any figures to convey an idea of the extent of
the destitution which now prevails, and I know also how impatient
large assemblies are of any extensive use of figures, or even of
figures at all; but at the same time, it is impossible for me to lay
before you the whole state of the case, in opening this resolution,
and asking you to resolve with regard to the extent of the distress
which now prevails, without trespassing on your attention by a few,
and they shall be a very few, figures, which shall show the extent,
if not the pressure, throughout this district, of the present
distress. And, gentlemen, I think I shall best give you an idea of
the amount of distress and destitution which prevails, by very
shortly comparing the state of things which existed in the districts
to which I refer in the month of September 1861, as compared with
the month of September 1862, and with that again only about two
weeks ago, which is the latest information we have--up to the 22d of
last month.

I find then, gentlemen, that in a district comprising, in round
numbers, two million inhabitants--for that is about the number in
that district--in the fourth week of September 1861, there were
forty-three thousand five hundred persons receiving parochial
relief; in the fourth week of September 1862, there were one hundred
and sixty-three thousand four hundred and ninety-eight persons
receiving parochial relief; and in the short space which elapsed
between the last week of September and the third week of November
the number of one hundred and sixty-three thousand four hundred and
ninety-eight had increased to two hundred and fifty-nine thousand
three hundred and eighty-five persons. Now, gentlemen, let us in the
same periods compare the amount which was applied from the parochial
funds to the relief of pauperism. In September 1861, the amount so
applied was 2259 pounds; in September 1862, it was 9674 pounds. That
is by the week. What is now the amount? In November 1862 it was
17,681 pounds for the week. The proportion of those receiving
parochial relief to the total population was two and three-tenths
per cent in September 1861, and eight and five-tenths per cent in
September 1862, and that had become thirteen and five-tenths percent
in the population in November 1862. Here, therefore, is thirteen per
cent of the whole population at the present moment depending for
their subsistence upon parochial relief alone. Of these two hundred
and fifty-nine thousand--I give only round numbers--there were
thirty-six thousand eight hundred old or infirm; there were nearly
ninety-eight thousand able-bodied adults receiving parochial relief,
and there were under sixteen years of age nearly twenty-four
thousand persons. But it would be very far from giving you an
estimate of the extent of the distress if we were to confine our
observations to those who are dependent upon parochial relief alone.

We have evidence from the local committees, whom we have extensively
employed, and whose services have been invaluable to us, that of
persons not relieved from the poor-rates there are relieved also by
local committees no fewer in this district than one hundred and
seventy-two thousand persons--making a total of four hundred and
thirty-one thousand three hundred and ninety-five persons out of two
millions, or twenty-one and seven-tenths per cent on the whole
population--that is, more than one in every five persons depend for
their daily existence either upon parochial relief or public
charity. Gentlemen, I have said that figures will not show
sufficiently the amount of distress; nor, in the same manner, will
figures show, I am happy to say, the amount that has been
contributed for the relief of that distress. But let us take another
test; let us examine what has been the result, not upon the poor who
are dependent for their daily bread upon their daily labour, and
many of whom are upon the very verge of pauperism, from day to day,
but let us take a test of what has been the effect upon the well-to-
do artisan, upon the frugal, industrious, saving men, who have been
hitherto somewhat above the world, and I have here but an imperfect
test, because I am unable to obtain the whole amount of deposits
withdrawn from the savings banks, the best of all possible tests, if
we could carry the account up to the present day; but I have only
been able to obtain it to the middle of June last, when the distress
could hardly be said to have begun, and yet I find from seven
savings banks alone in this county in six months--and those months
in which the distress had not reached its present height, or
anything like it--there was an excess of withdrawals of deposits
over the ordinary average to the amount of 71,113 pounds. This was
up to June last, when, as I have said, the pressure had hardly
commenced, and from that time it as been found impossible to obtain
from the savings banks, who are themselves naturally unwilling to
disclose this state of affairs--it has been found impossible to
obtain such further returns as would enable us to present to you any
proper estimate of the excess of withdrawals at present; but that
they have been very large must necessarily be inferred from the
great increase of distress which has taken place since the large sum
I have mentioned was obtained from the banks, as representing the
excess of ordinary withdrawals in June last.

Now, gentlemen, figure to yourselves, I beg of you, what a state of
things that sum of 71,113 pounds, as the excess of the average
withdrawals from the savings banks represents; what an amount of
suffering does it picture; what disappointed hopes; what a prospect
of future distress does it not bring before you for the working and
industrious classes? Why, gentlemen, it represents the blighted
hopes for life of many a family. It represents the small sum set
apart by honest, frugal, persevering industry, won by years of toil
and self-denial, in the hope of its being, as it has been in many
cases before, the foundation even of colossal fortunes which have
been made from smaller sums. It represents the gradual decay of the
hopes for his family of many an industrious artisan. The first step
in that downward progress which has led to destitution and pauperism
is the withdrawal of the savings of honest industry, and that is
represented in the return which I have quoted to you. Then comes the
sacrifice of some little cherished article of furniture--the cutting
off of some little indulgence--the sacrifice of that which gave his
home an appearance of additional comfort and happiness--the
sacrifice gradually, one by one, of the principal articles of
furniture, till at last the well-conducted, honest, frugal, saving
working man finds himself on a level with the idle, the dissipated,
and the improvident--obliged to pawn the very clothes of his family-
-nay, the very bedding on which he lies, to obtain the simple means
of subsistence from day to day, and encountering all that difficulty
and all that distress with the noble independence that would do
anything rather than depend upon public or even on private charity,
and in his own simple but emphatic language declaring, 'Nay, but
we'll CLEM first.'

And, gentlemen, this leads me to observe upon a more gratifying
point of view, that is, the noble manner, a manner beyond all
praise, in which this destitution has been borne by the population
of this great county. It is not the case of ordinary labourers who
find themselves reduced a trifle below their former means of
subsistence, but it is a reduction in the pecuniary comfort, and
almost necessaries, of men who have been in the habit of living, if
not in luxury, at least in the extreme of comfort--a reduction to
two shillings and three shillings a week from sums which had usually
amounted to twenty-five shillings, or thirty shillings, or forty
shillings; a cutting off of all their comforts, cutting off all
their hopes of future additional comfort, or of rising in life--
aggravated by a feeling, an honourable, an honest, but at the same
time a morbid feeling, of repugnance to the idea of being indebted
under these circumstances to relief of any kind or description. And
I may say that, among the difficulties which have been encountered
by the local relief committees--no doubt there have been many of
those not among the most deserving who have been clamorous for the
aid held out to them--but one of the great difficulties of local
relief committees has been to find out and relieve struggling and
really-distressed merit, and to overcome that feeling of
independence which, even under circumstances like these, leads them
to shrink from being relieved by private charity. I know that
instances of this kind have happened; I know that cases have
occurred where it has been necessary to press upon individuals,
themselves upon the point of starvation, the necessity of accepting
this relief; and from this place I take the opportunity of saying,
and I hope it will go far and wide, that in circumstances like the
present, discreditable as habitual dependence upon parochial relief
may be, it is no degradation, it is no censure, it is no possible
cause of blame, that any man, however great his industry, however
high his character, however noble his feeling of self-dependence,
should feel himself obliged to have recourse to that Christian
charity which I am sure we are all prepared to give. Gentlemen, I
might perhaps here, as far as my resolution goes, close the
observations I have to make to you. The resolution I have to move,
indeed, is one which calls for no extensive argument; and a plain
statement of facts, such as that I have laid before you, is
sufficient to obtain for it your unanimous assent. The resolution

"'That the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and the adjoining
counties are suffering from an extent of destitution happily
hitherto unknown, which has been borne by the working classes with a
patient submission and resolution entitling them to the warmest
sympathy of their fellow-countrymen.'

"But, gentlemen, I cannot, in the first place, lose the opportunity
of asking this great assembly with what feelings this state of
things should be contemplated by us who are in happier
circumstances. Let me say with all reverence that it is a subject
for deep national humiliation, and, above all, for deep humiliation
for this great county. We have been accustomed for years to look
with pride and complacency upon the enormous growth of that
manufacture which has conferred wealth upon so many thousands, and
which has so largely increased the manufacturing population and
industry of this country. We have seen within the last twelve or
fourteen years the consumption of cotton in Europe increase from
fifty thousand to ninety thousand bales a week; we have seen the
weight of cotton goods exported from this country in the shape of
yarn and manufactured goods amount to no less than nine hundred and
eighty-three million pounds in a single year. We have seen, in spite
of all opposing circumstances, this trade constantly and rapidly
extending; we have seen colossal fortunes made; and we have as a
county, perhaps, been accustomed to look down on those less
fortunate districts whose wealth and fortunes were built upon a less
secure foundation; we have reckoned upon this great manufacture as
the pride of our country, and as the best security against the
possibility of war, in consequence of the mutual interest between us
and the cotton-producing districts.

We have held that in the cotton manufacture was the pride, the
strength, and the certainty of our future national prosperity and
peace. I am afraid we have looked upon this trade too much in the
spirit of the Assyrian monarch of old. We have said to ourselves:--
'Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of my
kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?'
But in the hour in which the monarch used these words the word came
forth, 'Thy kingdom is departed from thee!' That which was his pride
became his humiliation; that which was our pride has become our
humiliation and our punishment. That which was the source of our
wealth--the sure foundation on which we built--has become itself the
instrument of our humiliating poverty, which compels us to appeal to
the charity of other counties. The reed upon which we leaned has
gone through the hand that reposed on it, and has pierced us to the

But, gentlemen, we have happier and more gratifying subjects of
contemplation. I have pointed to the noble conduct which must make
us proud of our countrymen in the mmiufacturing districts; I have
pointed to the noble and heroic submission to difficulties they
could never foresee, and privations they never expected to
encounter; but again, we have another feeling which I am sure will
not be disappointed, which the country has nobly met--that this is
an opportunity providentially given to those who are blessed with
wealth and fortune to show their sympathy--their practical, active,
earnest sympathy--with the sufferings of their poorer brethren, and,
with God's blessing, used as I trust by God's blessing it will be,
it may be a link to bind together more closely than ever the various
classes in this great community, to satisfy the wealthy that the
poor have a claim, not only to their money, but to their sympathy--
to satisfy the poor also that the rich are not overbearing, grinding
tyrants, but men like themselves, who have hearts to feel for
suffering, and are prompt to use the means God has given to them for
the relief of that suffering.

Gentlemen, a few words more, and I will not further trespass on your
attention. But I feel myself called on, as chairman of that
executive committee to which my noble friend in the chair has paid
so just a compliment, to lay before you some answer to objections
which have been made, and which in other counties, if not in this,
may have a tendency to check the contributions which have hitherto
so freely flowed in. Before doing so, allow me to say (and I can do
it with more freedom, because in the, earlier stages of its
organisation I was not a member of that committee) it is bare
justice to them to say that there never was an occasion on which
greater or more earnest efforts were made to secure that the
distribution of those funds intrusted to them should be guarded
against all possibility of abuse, and be distributed without the
slightest reference to political or religious opinions; distributed
with the most perfect impartiality, and in every locality, through
the instrumentality of persons in whom the neighbourhood might
repose entire confidence. Such has been our endeavour, and I think
to a great extent we have been successful. I may say that, although
the central executive committee is composed of men of most
discordant opinions in politics and religion, nothing for a single
moment has interfered with the harmony--I had almost said with the
unanimity--of our proceedings. There has been nothing to produce any
painful feelings among us, nor any desire on the part of the
representatives of different districts to obtain an undue share for
the districts they represented from the common fund.

But there are three points on which objection has being taken to the
course we have adopted. One has been, that the relief we have given
has not been given with a sufficiently liberal hand; the next--and I
think I shall show you that these two are inconsistent, the one
answering the other--is, that there has not been a sufficient
pressure on the local rates; and the third is, that Lancashire has
not hitherto done its duty with reference to the subscriptions from
other parts of the country. Allow me a few words on each of these

First, the amount to which we have endeavoured to raise our
subscriptions has been to the extent of from two shillings to two
shillings and sixpence weekly per head; in this late cold weather an
additional sixpence has been provided, mainly for coal and clothing.
Our endeavour has been to raise the total income of each individual
to at least two shillings or two shillings and sixpence a week. Now,
I am told that this is a very inadequate amount, and no doubt it is
an amount very far below that which many of the recipients were in
the habit of obtaining. But in the first place, I think there is
some misapprehension when we speak of the sum of two shillings a
week. If anybody supposes that two shillings a week is the maximum
to each individual, he will be greatly mistaken. Two shillings a
head per week is the sum we endeavoured to arrive at as the average
receipt of every man, woman, and child receiving assistance;
consequently, a man and his wife with a family of three or four
small children would receive, not two shillings, but ten or twelve
shillings from the fund--an amount not far short of that which in
prosperous times an honest and industrious labourer in other parts
of the country would obtain for the maintenance of his family. I am
not in the least afraid that, if we had fixed the amount at four
shillings or five shillings per head, such is the liberality of the
country, we should not have had sufficient means of doing so. But
were we justified in doing that? If we had raised their income
beyond that of the labouring man in ordinary times, we should have
gone far to destroy the most valuable feeling of the manufacturing
population--namely, that of honest self-reliance, and we should have
done our best, to a great extent, to demoralise a large portion of
the population, and induce them to prefer the wages of charitable
relief to the return of honest industry. But then we are told that
the rates are not sufficiently high in the distressed districts, and
that we ought to raise them before we come on the fund. In the first
place, we have no power to compel the guardians to raise the rates
beyond that which they think sufficient for the maintenance of those
to be relieved, and, naturally considering themselves the trustees
of the ratepayers, they are unwilling, and, indeed, ought not to
raise the amount beyond that which is called for by absolute
necessity. But suppose we had raised the relief from our committee
very far beyond the amount thought sufficient by the guardians, what
would have been the inevitable result? Why, that the rates which it
is desired to charge more heavily would have been relieved, because
persons would have taken themselves off the poor-rates, and placed
themselves on the charitable committee, and therefore the very
object theso objectors have in view in calling for an increase of
our donations would have been defeated by their own measure. I must
say, however, honestly speaking all I feel, that, with regard to the
amount of rates, there are some districts which have applied to us
for assistance which I think have not sufficient pressure on their
rates. Where I find, for example, that the total assessment on the
nett rateable value does not exceed ninepence or tenpence in the
pound, I really think such districts ought to be called upon to
increase their rates before applying for extraneous help. But we
have urged as far as we could urge--we have no power to command the
guardians to be more liberal in the rate of relief, and to that
extent to raise the rates in their districts.

And now a word on the subject of raising rates, because I have
received many letters in which it has been said that the rates are
nothing--'they are only three shillings or four shillings in the
pound, while we in the agricultural districts are used to six
shillings in the pound. We consider that no extraordinary rate, and
it is monstrous,' they say, 'that the accumulated wealth of years in
the county of Lancashire should not more largely contribute to the
relief of its own distress.' I will not enter into an argument as to
how far the larger amount of wages in the manufacturing districts
may balance the smaller--amount of wages and the larger amount of
poor-rates in the agricultural districts. I don't wish to enter into
any comparison; I have seen many comparisons of this kind made, but
they were full of fallacies from one end to the other. I will not
waste your time by discussing them; but I ask you to consider the
effect of a sudden rise of rates as a charge upon the accumulated
wealth of a district. It is not the actual amount of the rates, but
it is the sudden and rapid increase of the usual rate of the rates
that presses most heavily on the ratepayers. In the long run, the
rates must fall on real property, because all bargains between owner
and occupier are made with reference to the amount of rates to be
paid, and in all calculations between them, that is an element which
enters into the first agreement. But when the rate is suddenly
increased from one shilling to four shillings, it does not fall on
the accumulated wealth or on the real property, but it falls on the
occupier, the ratepayer--men, the great bulk of whom are at the
present moment themselves struggling upon the verge of pauperism.
Therefore, if in those districts it should appear to persons
accustomed to agricultural districts that the amount of our rates
was very small, I would say to them that any attempt to increase
those rates would only increase the pauperism, diminish the number
of solvent ratepayers, and greatly aggravate the distress. In some
of the districts I think the amount of the rates quite sufficient to
satisfy the most ardent advocate of high rates. For example, in the
town of Ashton they have raised in the course of the year one rate
of one shilling and sixpence, another of one shilling and six-pence,
and a third of four shillings and sixpence, which it is hoped will
carry them over the year. They have also, in addition to these
rates, drawn largely on previous balances, and I am afraid have
largely added to their debt. The total of what has been or will be
expended, with a prospect of even a great increase, in that borough
exceeds eleven shillings and elevenpence in the pound for the relief
of the poor alone. And, gentlemen, this rate of four shillings and
sixpence about to be levied, which ought to yield about 32,000
pounds, it is calculated will not yield 24,000 pounds. In Stockport
the rate is even higher, being twelve shillings or more per pound,
and there it is calculated that at the next levy the defalcations
will be at least forty per cent, according to the calculation of the
poor-law commissioner himself. To talk, then, of raising rates in
such districts as these would be absolute insanity; and even in
districts less heavily rated, any sudden attempt considerably to
increase the rate would have the effect of pauperising those who are
now solvent, and to augment rather than diminish the distress of the

The last point on which I would make an observation relates to the
objection which has been taken to our proceedings, on the ground
that Lancashire has not done its duty in this distress, and that
consequently other parts of the country have been unduly called on
to contribute to that which I don't deny properly and primarily
belongs to Lancashire. Gentlemen, it is very hard to ascertain with
any certainty what has been done by Lancashire, because, in the
first place, the amount of local subscriptions and the amount of
public contributions by themselves give no fair indication of that
which really has been done by public or private charity. I don't
mean to say that there are not individuals who have grossly
neglected their duty in Lancashire. On the other hand, we know there
are many, though I am not about to name them, who have acted with
the most princely munificence, liberality, and generous feeling,
involving an amount of sacrifice of which no persons out of this
county can possibly have the slightest conception. I am not saying
there are not instances of niggard feeling, though I am not about to
name them, which really it was hardly possible to believe could

Will you forgive me if I trespass for a few moments by reading two
or three extracts from confidential reports made to us every week
from the different districts by a gentleman whose services were
placed at our disposal by the Government? These reports being, as I
have said, confidential, I will not mention the names of the
persons, firms, or localities alluded to, though in some instances
they may be guessed at. This report was made to us on the 25th of
November, and I will quote some of the remarks made in it. The
writer observes:--'It must not be inferred when such remarks are
absent from the reports that nothing is done. I have great
difficulty sometimes in overcoming the feeling that my questions on
these points are a meddlesome interference in private matters.'
Bearing that remark in mind, I say here are instances which I am
sure reflect as much credit on the individuals as on the interest
they represent and the county to which they belong. I am sure I
shall be excused for trespassing on your patience by reading a few
examples. He says, under No.1,--'Nearly three thousand operatives
out of the whole, most of them the hands of Messrs __ and Mr __, at
his own cost, employs five hundred and fifty-five girls in sewing
five days a week, paying them eightpence a day; sends seventy-six
youths from thirteen to fourteen years old, and three hundred and
thirty-two adults above fifteen, five days a week to school, paying
them from fourpence to eightpence per day, according to age. He also
pays the school pence of all the children. Mr __ has hitherto paid
his people two days' wages a week, but he is now preparing to adopt
a scheme like Mr __ to a great extent. I would add that, in addition
to wages, Mr __ gives bread, soup, socks, and clogs. 2. Mr __ has at
his own expense caused fifty to sixty dinners to be provided for
sick persons every day. These consist of roast beef or mutton, soup,
beef-tea, rice-puddings, wine, and porter, as ordered; and the forty
visitors distribute orders as they find it necessary. Ostensibly all
is done in the name of the committee; but Mr __ pays all the cost.
An admirable soup kitchen is being fitted up, where the poor man may
purchase a good hot meal for one penny, and either carry it away or
consume it on the premises. 3. Messrs __ are giving to their hands
three days' wages (about 500 pounds a week.) Messrs __ and __ are
giving their one hundred and twenty hands, and Messrs their two
hundred and thirty hands, two days' wages a week. I may mention that
Messrs __ are providing for all their one thousand seven hundred
hands. 4. A great deal of private charity exists, one firm having
spent 1400 pounds in money, exclusive of weekly doles of bread. 5.
Messrs __ are providing all their old hands with sufficient clothing
and bedding to supply every want, so that their subscription of 50
pounds is merely nominal. 6. The ladies of the village visit and
relieve privately with money, food, or clothing, or all, if needed
urgently. In a few cases distraint has been threatened, but
generally the poor are living rent free. 7. Payment of rent is
almost unknown. The agent for several landlords assures me he could
not from his receipts pay the property-tax, but no distraints are
made. 8. The bulk of the rents are not collected, and distraints are
unknown. 9. The millowners are chiefly cottage-owners, and are
asking for no rents.'

That leads me to call your attention to the fact that, in addition
to the sacrifices they are making, the millowners are themselves to
a large extent the owners of cottages, and I believe, without
exception, they are at the present moment receiving no rent, thereby
losing a large amount of income they had a right to count upon. I
know one case which is curious as showing how great is the
difficulty of ascertaining what is really done. It is required in
the executive committee that every committee should send in an
account of the local subscriptions. We received an application from
a small district where there was one mill, occupied by some young
men who had just entered into the business. We returned a refusal,
inasmuch as there was no local subscription; but when we came to
inquire, we found that from last February, when the mill closed,
these young men had maintained the whole of their hands, that they
paid one-third of the rates of the whole district, and that they
were at that moment suffering a yearly loss of 300 pounds in the
rent of cottages for which they were not drawing a single halfpenny.
That was a case in which we thought it right in the first instance
to withhold any assistance, because there appeared to be no local
subscription, and it shows how persons at a distance may be deceived
by the want apparently of any local subscription. But I will throw
out of consideration the whole of those amounts--the whole of this
unparalleled munificence on the part of many manufacturers which
never appears in any account whatever--I will throw out everything
done in private and unostentatious charity--the supplies of bedding,
clothing, food, necessaries of every description, which do not
appear as public subscriptions, and will appeal to public
subscriptions alone; and I will appeal to an authority which cannot,
I think, be disputed--the authority of the commissioner, Mr Farnall
himself, whose services the Government kindly placed at our
disposal, and of whose activity, industry, and readiness to assist
us, it is difficult to speak in too high terms of praise. A better
authority could not be quoted on the subject of the comparative
support given in aid of this distress in Lancashire and other
districts. I find that, excluding altogether the subscriptions in
the Lord Mayor's Mansion House list--of which we know the general
amount, but not the sources from which it is derived, or how it is
expended--but excluding it from consideration, and dealing only with
the funds which have been given or promised to be administered
through the central executive committee, I find that, including some
of the subscriptions which we know are coming in this day, the total
amount which has been contributed is about 540,000 pounds. Of that
amount we received--and it is a most gratifying fact--40,000 pounds
from the colonies; we received from the rest of the United Kingdom
100,000 pounds; and from the county of Lancaster itself, in round
numbers, 400,000 pounds out of 540,000 pounds.

Now, I hope that these figures, upon the estimate and authority of
the Government poor-law commissioner, will be sufficient, at all
events, to do away with the imputation that Lancashire, at this
crisis, is not doing its duty. But if Lancashire has been doing its
duty--if it is doing its duty--that is no reason why Lancashire
should relax its efforts; and of that I trust the result of this
day's proceedings will afford a sufficient testimony. We are not yet
at the height of the distress. It is estimated that at the present
moment there are three hundred and fifty-five thousand persons
engaged in the different manufactories. Of these forty thousand only
are in full work; one hundred and thirty-five thousand are at short
work, and one hundred and eighty thousand are out of work
altogether. In the course of the next six weeks this number is
likely to be greatly increased; and the loss of wages is not less
than 137,000 pounds a week. This, I say then, is a state of things
that calls for the most active exertions of all classes of the
community, who, I am happy to say, have responded to the call which
has been made upon them most nobly, from the Queen down to the
lowest individual in the community. At the commencement of the
distress, the Queen, with her usual munificence, sent us a donation
of 2000 pounds. The first act of His Royal Highness the Prince of
Wales, upon attaining his majority, was to write from Rome, and to
request that his name should be put down for 1000 pounds. And to go
to the other end of the scale, I received two days ago, from Lord
Shaftesbury, a donation of 1200 pounds from some thousands of
working men, readers of a particular periodical which he mentioned,
the British Workman. To that sum Lord Shaftesbury stated many
thousands of persons had subscribed, and it embraced contributions
even from the brigade of shoe-black boys.

On the part of all classes there has been the greatest liberality
displayed; and I should be unjust to the working men, I should be
unjust to the poor in every district, if I did not say that in
proportion to their means they have contributed more than their
share. In no case hardly which has come to my knowledge has there
been any grudging, and in many cases I know that poor persons have
contributed more than common prudence would have dictated. These
observations have run to a greater extent than I had intended; but I
thought it desirable that the whole case, as far as possible, should
be brought before you, and I have only now earnestly to request that
you will this day do your part towards the furtherance of the good
work. I have no apprehension, if the distress should not last over
five or six months more, that the spontaneous efforts of individuals
and public bodies, and contributions received in every part of the
country, will fall short of that which is needed for enabling the
population to tide over this deep distress; and I earnestly hope
that, if it be necessary to apply to Parliament, as a last resource,
the representatives of the country will not grudge their aid; yet I
do fervently hope and believe that, with the assistance of the
machinery of that bill passed in Parliament last session, (the Rate
in Aid Act,) which will come into operation shortly after Christmas,
but could not possibly be brought into operation sooner, I do
fervently hope and believe that this great manufacturing district
will be spared the further humiliation of coming before Parliament,
which ought to be the last resource, as a claimant, a suppliant for
the bounty of the nation at large. I don't apprehend that there will
be a single dissentient voice raised against the resolution which I
have now the honour to move."



Sad are the sounds that are breaking forth
From the women and men of the brave old North!
Sad are the sights for human eyes,
In fireless homes, 'neath wintry skies;
Where wrinkles gather on childhood's skin,
And youth's "clemm'd" cheek is pallid and thin;
Where the good, the honest--unclothed, unfed,
Child, mother, and father, are craving for bread!
But faint not, fear not--still have trust;
Your voices are heard, and your claims are just.
England to England's self is true,
And "God and the People" will help you through.

Brothers and sisters! full well ye have stood,
While the gripe of gaunt Famine has curdled your blood!
No murmur, no threat on your lips have place,
Though ye look on the Hunger-fiend face to face;
But haggard and worn ye silently bear,
Dragging your death-chains with patience and prayer;
With your hearts as loyal, your deeds as right,
As when Plenty and Sleep blest your day and your night,
Brothers and sisters! oh! do not believe
It is Charity's GOLD ALONE ye receive.
Ah, no! It is Sympathy, Feeling, and Hope,
That pull out in the Life-boat to fling ye a rope.

Fondly I've lauded your wealth-winning hands,
Planting Commerce and Fame throughout measureless lands;
And my patriot-love, and my patriot-song,
To the children of Labour will ever belong.
Women and men of this brave old soil!
I weep that starvation should guerdon your toil;
But I glory to see ye--proudly mute--
Showing SOULS like the HERO, not FANGS like the brute.
Oh! keep courage within; be the Britons ye are;
HE, who driveth the storm hath His hand on the star!
England to England's sons shall be true,
And "God and the People" will carry ye through!


STRANGER! who to buy art willing,
Seek not here for talent rare;
Mine's no song of love or beauty,
But a tale of want and care.

Traveller on the Northern Railway!
Look and learn, as on you speed;
See the hundred smokeless chimneys,
Learn their tale of cheerless need.

Ah! perchance the landscape fairer
Charms your taste, your artist-eye;
Little do you guess how dearly
Costs that now unclouded sky.

"How much prettier is this county!"
Says the careless passer-by;
"Clouds of smoke we see no longer,
What's the reason?--Tell me why.

"Better far it were, most surely,
Never more such clouds to see,
Bringing taint o'er nature's beauty,
With their foul obscurity."

Thoughtless fair one! from yon chimney
Floats the golden breath of life;
Stop that current at your pleasure!
Stop! and starve the child--the wife.

Ah! to them each smokeless chimney
Is a signal of despair;
They see hunger, sickness, ruin,
Written in that pure, bright air.

"Mother! mother! see! 'twas truly
Said last week the mill would stop;
Mark yon chimney, nought is going,
There's no smoke from 'out o'th top!'

"Father! father! what's the reason
That the chimneys smokeless stand?
Is it true that all through strangers,
We must starve in our own land?"

Low upon her chair that mother
Droops, and sighs with tearful eye;
At the hearthstone lags the father,
Musing o'er the days gone by.

Days which saw him glad and hearty,
Punctual at his work of love;
When the week's end brought him plenty,
And he thanked the Lord above.

When his wages, earned so justly,
Gave him clothing, home, and food;
When his wife, with fond caresses,
Blessed his heart, so kind and good.

Neat and clean each Sunday saw them,
In their place of prayer and praise,
Little dreaming that the morrow
Piteous cries for help would raise.

Weeks roll on, and still yon chimney
Gives of better times no sign;
Men by thousands cry for labour,
Daily cry, and daily pine.

Now the things, so long and dearly
Prized before, are pledged away;
Clock and Bible, marriage-presents,
Both must go--how sad to say!

Charley trots to school no longer,
Nelly grows more pale each day;
Nay, the baby's shoes, so tiny,
Must be sold, for bread to pay.

They who loathe to be dependent
Now for alms are forced to ask
Hard is mill-work, but, believe me,
Begging is the bitterest task.

Soon will come the doom most dreaded,
With a horror that appals;
Lo! before their downcast faces
Grimly stare the workhouse walls.

Stranger, if these sorrows touch you,
Widely bid your bounty flow;
And assist my poor endeavours
To relieve this load of woe.

Let no more the smokeless chimneys
Draw from you one word of praise;
Think, oh, think upon the thousands
Who are moaning out their days.

Rather pray that peace, soon bringing
Work and plenty in her train,
We may see these smokeless chimneys
Blackening all the land again.



The following verses are copied from "Lancashire Lyrics," edited by
John Harland, Esq., F.S.A. They are extracted from a song "by some
'W.C.,' printed as a street broadside, at Ashton-under-Lyne, and
sung in most towns of South Lancashire."

We have come to ask for assistance;
At home we've been starving too long;
An' our children are wanting subsistence;
Kindly aid us to help them along.


For humanity is calling;
Don't let the call be in vain;
But help us; we're needy and falling;
And God will return it again.

War's clamour and civil commotion
Has stagnation brought in its train;
And stoppage bring with it starvation,
So help us some bread to obtain.

For humanity is calling.
The American war is still lasting;
Like a terrible nightmare it leans
On the breast of a country, now fasting
For cotton, for work, and for means.

And humanity is calling.


Cheer up a bit longer, mi brothers i' want,
There's breeter days for us i' store;
There'll be plenty o' tommy an' wark for us o'
When this 'Merica bother gets o'er.
Yo'n struggled reet nobly, an' battled reet hard,
While things han bin lookin' so feaw;
Yo'n borne wi' yo're troubles and trials so long,
It's no use o' givin' up neaw.

Feight on, as yo' han done, an' victory's sure,
For th' battle seems very nee won,
Be firm i' yo're sufferin', an' dunno give way;
They're nowt nobbut ceawards'at run.
Yo' know heaw they'n praised us for stondin' so firm,
An' shall we neaw stagger an' fo?
Nowt o'th soart;--iv we nobbut brace up an' be hard,
We can stond a bit longer, aw know.

It's hard to keep clemmin' an' starvin' so long;
An' one's hurt to see th' little things fret,
Becose there's no buttercakes for 'em to eat;
But we'n allus kept pooin' thro' yet.
As bad as toimes are, an' as feaw as things look,
We're certain they met ha' bin worse;
We'n had tommy to eat, an' clooas to put on;
They'n only bin roughish, aw know.

Aw've begged on yo' to keep up yo're courage afore,
An' neaw let me ax yo' once moor;
Let's noan get disheartened, there's hope for us yet,
We needn't dispair tho' we're poor.
We cannot expect it'll allus be foine;
It's dark for a while, an' then clear;
We'n mirth mixed wi' sadness, an' pleasure wi' pain,
An' shall have as long as we're here.

This world's full o' changes for better an' wur,
An' this is one change among th' ruck;
We'n a toime o' prosperity,--toime o' success,
An' then we'n a reawnd o' bad luck.
We're baskin' i' sunshine, at one toime o'th day,
At other toimes ceawerin' i'th dark;
We're sometoimes as hearty an' busy as owt,
At other toimes ill, an' beawt wark.

Good bless yo'! mi brothers, we're nobbut on th' tramp,
We never stay long at one spot;
An' while we keep knockin' abeawt i' this world,
Disappointments will fall to eawer lot:
So th' best thing we can do, iv we meon to get thro',
Is to wrastle wi' cares as they come;
We shall feel rayther tired,--but let's never heed that,--
We can rest us weel when we get whoam.

Cheer up, then, aw say, an' keep hopin' for th' best,
An' things 'll soon awter, yo'll see;
There'll be oceans o' butties for Tommy an' Fred,
An' th' little un perched on yo're knee.
Bide on a bit longer, tak' heart once ogen,
An' do give o'er lookin' so feaw;
As we'n battled, an' struggled, an' suffered so long,
It's no use o' givin' up neaw.


(From "Phases of Distress--Lancashire Rhymes.")


Fro' heawrs to days--a dhreary length--
Fro' days to weeks one idle stons,
An' slowly sinks fro' pride an' strength
To weeny heart an' wakely honds;
An' still one hopes, an' ever tries
To think 'at better days mun come;
Bo' th' sun may set, an' th' sun may rise,--
No sthreak o' leet one finds a-whoam.

Aw want to see thoose days again,
When folk can win whate'er they need;
O God! to think 'at wortchin' men
Should be poor things to pet an' feed!
There's some to th' Bastile han to goo,
To live o'th rates they'n help'd to pay;
An' some get "dow" {3} to help 'em through;
An' some are taen or sent away.

What is there here, 'at one should live,
Or wish to live, weigh'd deawn wi' grief,
Through weary weeks an' months, 'at give
Not one short heawr o' sweet relief?
A sudden plunge, a little blow,
Would end at once mi' care an' pain!
An' why noa do't?--for weel aw know
Aw's lose bo' ills, if nowt aw gain.

An' why noa do't? It ill 'ud tell
O' thoose wur laft beheend, aw fear;
It's wring, at fust, to kill mysel',
It's wring to lyev mi childer here.
One's like to tak' some thowt for them--
Some sort o' comfort one should give;
So one mun bide, an' starve, an' clem,
An' pine, an' mope, an' fret, an' live.



TUNE--"Rory O'More."

Confound it! aw ne'er wur so woven afore;
My back's welly brocken, mi fingers are sore;
Aw've been starin' an' rootin' amung this Shurat,
Till aw'm very near getten as bloint as a bat.

Aw wish aw wur fur enough off, eawt o'th road,
For o' weavin' this rubbitch aw'm getten reet sto'd;
Aw've nowt i' this world to lie deawn on but straw,
For aw've nobbut eight shillin' this fortnit to draw.

Neaw, aw haven't mi family under mi hat;
Aw've a woife and six childer to keep eawt o' that;
So aw'm rayther amung it just neaw, yo may see--
Iv ever a fellow wur puzzle't, it's me!
Iv aw turn eawt to steal, folk'll co' me a thief;
An' aw conno' put th' cheek on to ax for relief;
As aw said i' eawr heawse t'other neet to mi wife,
Aw never did nowt o' this mak' i' my life.

O dear! iv yon Yankees could nobbut just see,
Heaw they're clemmin' an' starvin' poor weavers loike me,
Aw think they'd soon sattle their bother, an' strive
To send us some cotton to keep us alive.

There's theawsan's o' folk, just i'th best o' their days,
Wi' traces o' want plainly sin i' their faze;
An' a futur afore 'em as dreary an' dark;
For, when th' cotton gets done, we's be o' eawt o' wark.

We'n bin patient an' quiet as lung as we con;
Th' bits o' things we had by us are welly o' gone;
Mi clogs an' mi shoon are both gettin' worn eawt,
An' my halliday clooas are o' gone "up th' speawt!"

Mony a time i' my days aw've sin things lookin' feaw,
But never as awkard as what they are neaw;
Iv there isn't some help for us factory folk soon,
Aw'm sure 'at we's o' be knock'd reet eawt o' tune.



God help the poor, who in this wintry morn,
Come forth of alleys dim and courts obscure;
God help yon poor, pale girl, who droops forlorn,
And meekly her affliction doth endure!

God help the outcast lamb! she trembling stands,
All wan her lips, and frozen red her hands;
Her mournful eyes are modestly down cast,
Her night-black hair streams on the fitful blast;
Her bosom, passing fair, is half reveal'd,
And oh! so cold the snow lies there congeal'd;
Her feet benumb'd, her shoes all rent and worn;--
God help thee, outcast lamb, who stand'st forlorn!
God help the poor!

God help the poor! an infant's feeble wail
Comes from yon narrow gate-way! and behold
A female crouching there, so deathly pale,
Huddling her child, to screen it from the cold!--
Her vesture scant, her bonnet crush'd and torn;
A thin shawl doth her baby dear enfold.
And there she bides the ruthless gale of morn,
Which almost to her heart hath sent its cold!
And now she sudden darts a ravening look,
As one with new hot bread comes past the nook;
And, as the tempting load is onward borne,
She weeps. God help thee, hapless one forlorn!
God help the poor!

God help the poor! Behold yon famish'd lad
No shoes, no hose, his wounded feet protect;
With limping gait, and looks so dreamy-sad,
He wanders onward, stopping to inspect
Each window, stored with articles of food;
He yearns but to enjoy one cheering meal.
Oh! to his hungry palate, viands rude
Would yield a zest the famish'd only feel!
He now devours a crust of mouldy bread--
With teeth and hands the precious boon is torn,
Unmindful of the storm which round his head
Impetuous sweeps. God help thee, child forlorn
God help the poor!
God help the poor! Another have I found
A bow'd and venerable man is he;
His slouched hat with faded crape is bound,
His coat is gray, and threadbare, too, I see;
"The rude winds" seem to "mock his hoary hair;"
His shirtless bosom to the blast is bare.
Anon he turns, and casts a wistful eye,
And with scant napkin wipes the blinding spray;
And looks again, as if he fain would spy
Friends he hath feasted in his better day
Ah! some are dead, and some have long forborne
To know the poor; and he is left forlorn!
God help the poor!

God help the poor who in lone valleys dwell,
Or by far hills, where whin and heather grow
Theirs is a story sad indeed to tell!
Yet little cares the world, nor seeks to know
The toil and want poor weavers undergo.
The irksome loom must have them up at morn;
They work till worn-out nature will have sleep;
They taste, but are not fed. Cold snow drifts deep
Around the fireless cot, and blocks the door;
The night-storm howls a dirge o'er moss and moor!
And shall they perish thus, oppress'd and lorn?
Shall toil and famine hopeless still be borne!--
No! GOD will yet arise, and HELP THE POOR!



Neaw times are so tickle, no wonder
One's heart should be deawn i' his shoon,
But, dang it, we munnot knock under
To th' freawn o' misfortin to soon;
Though Robin looks fearfully gloomy,
An' Jamie keeps starin' at th' greawnd,
An' thinkin' o'th table 'at's empty,
An' th' little things yammerin' reawnd.

Iv a mon be both honest an' willin',
An' never a stroke to be had,
An' clemmin' for want ov a shillin',--
It's likely to make him feel sad;
It troubles his heart to keep seein'
His little brids feedin' o'th air;
An' it feels very hard to be deein',
An' never a mortal to care.

But life's sich a quare bit o' travel,--
A warlock wi' sun an' wi' shade,--
An' then, on a bowster o' gravel,
They lay'n us i' bed wi' a spade;
It's no use o' peawtin' an' fratchin';
As th' whirligig's twirlin' areawn'd,
Have at it again; an' keep scratehin',
As lung as your yed's upo' greawnd.

Iv one could but feel i'th inside on't,
There's trouble i' every heart;
An' thoose that'n th' biggest o'th pride on't,
Oft leeten o'th keenest o'th smart.
Whatever may chance to come to us,
Let's patiently hondle er share,--
For there's mony a fine suit o' clooas
That covers a murderin' care.

There's danger i' every station,
I'th palace, as weel as i'th cot;
There's hanker i' every condition,
An' canker i' every lot;
There's folk that are weary o' livin',
That never fear't hunger nor cowd;
An' there's mony a miserly crayter
'At's deed ov a surfeit o' gowd.

One feels, neaw 'at times are so nippin',
A mon's at a troublesome schoo',
That slaves like a horse for a livin',
An, flings it away like a foo;
But, as pleasur's sometimes a misfortin,
An' trouble sometimes a good thing,--
Though we liv'n o'th floor, same as layrocks,
We'n go up, like layrocks, to sing.






The Moorland Flower--To the Rose-Tree on my Window Sill--Keen Blows
the North Wind--Now Summer's Sunlight Glowing--The Moorland Witch--
The Church Clock--God Bless Thee, Old England--All on a Rosy Morn of
June--Glad Welcome to Morn's Dewy Hours--Alas, how Hard it is to
Smile--Ye Gallant Men of England--Here's to my Native Land--What
Makes your Leaves Fall Down--Oh, had she been a Lowly Maid--The Old
Bard's Welcome Home--Oh, Come Across the Fields--Oh, Weave a Garland
for my Brow--The Wanderer's Hymn--Alone upon the Flowery Plain--
Life's Twilight--Time is Flying--The Moorlands--The Captain's
Friends--The World--To a Married Lady--Cultivate your Men--Old Man's
Song--Bide on--Christmas Song--Love and Gold--When Drowsy Daylight--
Mary--To the Spring Wind--Nightfall--To a Young Lady--Poor
Travellers all--The Dying Rose--Lines--The Man of the Time--
Christmas Morning.


Come Whoam to thi Childer an' Me--What ails Thee, my Son Robin--God
Bless these Poor Folk--Come, Mary, Link thi Arm i Mine--Chirrup --
The Dule's i' this Bonnet o' Mine--Tickle Times--Jamie's Frolic--Owd
Pinder--Come, Jamie, let's Undo thi Shoon--The Goblin Parson--While
Takin' a Wift o' my Pipe--God Bless thi Silver Yure--Margit's


Cloth, neat, 1s.


Come Whoam to thi Childer an' Me--What ails Thee, my Son Robin--God
Bless these Poor Folk--Come, Mary, Link thi Arm i' Mine--The Dule's
i' this Bonnet o' Mine--Come, Jamie, let's Undo thi Shoon--Aw've
Worn my Bits o' Shoon Away--Chirrup--Bonny Nan--Tum Rindle--Tickle
Times--Jamie's Frolic--Owd Pinder--The Goblin Parson--While Takin' a
Wift o' my Pipe--Yesterneet--God Bless thi Silver Yure--Margit's
Coming--Eawr Folk--Th' Sweetheart Gate--Gentle Jone--Neet Fo'--A
Lift on th' Way.


In sheets, 1d. each.


Come Whoam to thi Childer an' Me--What ails Thee, my Son Robin--God
Bless these Poor Folk--Come, Mary, Link thi Arm i' Mine--The Dule's
i' this Bonnet o' Mine--Come, Jamie, let's Undo Thi Shoon--While
Takin' a Wift o' my Pipe--God Bless thi Silver Yure--Aw've Worn my
Bits o' Shoon Away --Yesterneet--Owd Enoch--Chirrup --Tickle Times--
Jamie's Frolic--Owd Pinder--Th' Goblin Parson--Margit's Coming--Eawr
Folk--Th' Sweetheart Gate--Gentle Jone--Neet Fo'--Bonnie Nan--A Lift
on th' Way--Tum Rindle--Buckle to.

WAUGH'S. The Birtle Carter's Tale about Owd Bodle. 3d.
WAUGH'S. The Goblin's Grave. 3d.
WAUGH'S. Chapel Island: An Adventure on the Ulverstone Sands. 1d.
WAUGH'S. Norbreck: A Sketch on the Lancashire Coast. 1d.
WAUGH'S. Birth-Place of Tim Bobbin. 6d.
WAUGH'S. Rambles in the Lake Country and its Borders. Cloth, neat.
2s. 6d.
WAUGH'S. Sketches of Lancashire Life and Localities. 1s.
WAUGH'S. Fourteen Days in Scotland. 1s.
WAUGH'S. Wandering Minstrels; or, Wails of the Workless Poor. 1d.
WAUGH'S. The Barrel Organ. With Illustrations. 3d.
WAUGH'S. Tattlin Matty. 3d.
WAUGH'S. The Dead Man's Dinner. 3d.
WAUGH'S. Over Sands to the Lakes. 6d.
WAUGH'S. Sea-Side Lakes and Mountains of Cumberland. 6d.
WAUGH'S. Home-Life of the Lancashire Factory Folk during the Cotton
Famine. 3s. 6d.
WAUGH'S. Tufts of Heather from the Northern Moors. 5s.


{1} These stanzas are extracted, by permission, from the second
volume of "Lancashire Lyrics," edited by John Harland, Esq., F.S.A.
"They were written by a lady in aid of the Relief Fund. They were
printed on a card, and sold, principally at the railway stations.
Their sale there, and elsewhere, is known to have realised the sum
of 160 pounds. Their authoress is the wife of Mr Serjeant Bellasis,
and the only daughter of the late William Garnett, Esq. of Quernmore
Park and Bleasdale, Lancashire."--Notes in "Lancashire Lyrics."

{2} From "Lancashire Lyrics," edited by John Harland, Esq., F.S.A.

{3} Dole; relief from charity.

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