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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:19 am 
Spider Lady
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Location: Staffordshire
The Times
Friday May 27 1842
Distress in the Manufacturing Districts

Stockport
Stockport, in Cheshire, is one of the principal seats of the cotton manufacture, and a large portion of its population is dependent on that manufacture for support.
During the last three years many failures among the mill owners have occurred, but distress among the working people did not assume a very aggravated form until within the last eight months; since that time a large number of the manufacturing workmen, accustomed to constant industry, have been reduced by the stoppage of mills to want of employment, and to a dependence on legal or voluntary aims. Their privations have been borne, by a population not accustomed to such dependence, with fortitude and resignation, and the virtues which they have exhibited under such severe trials, not less than then sufferings which they have endured, and are still enduring, entitle them to the sympathy and consideration of their fellow-countrymen.
Mr. Waddington, the secretary of the Relief Fund in Stockport, states in the official report upon the distress in that town, that the majority of the distressed families have no visible means of support; that for some weeks they had subsisted by credit; that when that had failed, their next resource was to sell furniture, their wearing apparel, their bed and bedding, and in many instances women had been compelled even to part with their marriage ring; and that their dwellings were found literally stripped of every article of comfort. He subsequently proceeds to state, in reference to the district of which he acted as visiter, "The greater proportion of the inhabitants of that district were in as lamentable a state of destitution as it is possible to imagine. I am convinced that the Relief Fund has been the cause of saving hundreds in the borough from a premature grave.

Burnley
Severe distress likewise prevails extensively at Burnley, in Lancashire, and in the neighbouring district, owing to the same causes as the distress at Stockport.
In this district less efficient assistance appears to have been afforded to the settled poor from the poor-rates, and, moreover, many destitute persons who had migrated thither from other parts of the country have been deterred from applying for parochial relief by the fear of removal in consequence of thus becoming chargeable.
The funds provided by the law for the relief of ordinary destitution in England, however ample they may be, can scarcely be expected to suffice in the depressed state of Stockport and Burnley, inasmuch as the resources of the ratepayers themselves are diminished in nearly the same proportion in which the demands of the working classes upon those resources are increased.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:54 pm 
Spider Lady
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The Times
Tuesday, June 14 1842

Burnley, Lancashire
(From our own correspondent)
Although trade generally in this district is in a depressed state, the distress appears to be greatly exaggerated. The factories are in full work with the exception of one; and the chief complaint of the operatives is, that they cannot now when working six days a week receive more remuneration for their labour than they did some time since when working four. A considerable number of hands are out of employ at Todmorden and the neighbourhood, but this does not arise from a decrease in the demand for goods, but in consequence of the mills being obliged to stop for want of water, by which power they are principally worked, and the extreme heat and dryness of the weather account for the deficiency of supply of the necessary element. The spinners in this neighbourhood are earning from 20s. to 25s. per week, and the superintendents of power-looms from 9s. to 13s. The handloom weavers cannot compete with the power-looms, and hence it is that this numerous class of operatives are in a state of extreme privation.
Sir John Walsham, one of the Assistant Poor Law Commissioners, is in the neighbourhood with a considerable sum of money from the Manufacturers Relief Fund, which he distributes to those who are recommended by the local committee as having earned their pittance on the roads or at any other employment to which they have been put. Since the arrival of the Assistant Poor Law Commissioner many of the mills have given their hands full employment, therefore the call upon the fund has not been so great as might have been expected. The Chartist leaders of the neighbourhood, who are said to be in the pay of the Anti-Corn-Law League, are doing the utmost in their power to move the people to violence. They have called a public meeting to be held on Pendle-hill, five miles from Burnley, to-morrow (Sunday), at which it is stated Mr. Fergus O'Connor and Dr. M'Dowall will be present. These two cunning gentlemen, however, will not be found there, as the latter left Manchester for London this morning, and the former has expressed a disinclination to stand the risk of desecrating the Sabbath himself, both in fact being contented by getting other parties into the trap and escaping themselves. The language used at most of the meetings lately held has been exciting and seditious in the extreme, and the speakers have not hesitated openly to recommend the people to arm themselves and demand 'the Charter.' The authorities have had their attention directed to some ot the ring-leaders, and it is very probable that ere long they may be taught a judical lesson.
A very serious fire broke out yesterday morning at the mills of Messrs. Barker and Barwise, between Burnley and Todmorden. It appears that about half-past 9 o'clock, whilst the mill was at work, the cotton in the upper story, used for the process of dressing, suddenly ignited. The fire almost immediately spread to other parts of the building, and by half-past 11 o'clock the whole was a heap of ruins. 50 bales of cotton, and the whole of the valuable machiinery, building &c., were destroyed; the loss being estimated at from 9,000l to 10,000l. The machinery consisted of power-looms, mules, spindles and throstles. The fire-engine of Messrs. John Fielden and Brothers, and other engines from Burnley, were upon the spot shortly after the fire commenced, but the flames had made such rapid progress that they were unable to check them until the whole fabric and its contents were consumed.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:44 pm 
Spider Lady
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The Times
Wednesday June 15 1842
Numerous Meetings of Chartists
From our own correspondent
Burnley, Sunday.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals congregated to-day upon that wild and mountainous part of Lancashire, about five miles from this place, called Pendle-hill (the highest point in the county); they were called together by placards posted in Burnley, Bacup, Padiham, Accrington, Blackburn, Colne, Clitheroe, Haslingden, and other towns in North Lancashire, and on the borders of Yorkshire, but for what specific purpose the placards, which were in manuscript, did not specify. The understanding was, however, that they were to talk over the distressed state of the country, and to recommend an immediate and decisive demand for the people's charter from Her Majesty's Government. Every Sabbath-day, for the last few weeks, encampments of Chartists have been held upon the hills and other parts of the manufacturing districts, at which a great deal of sedition and treason has been spouted by the agitators, who have not hesitated to recommend physical force to the unthinking mob. I have been informed by persons who have attended these assemblages, that the language uttered by the speakers has been more violent than ever it was when Chartism was rampant two years ago. The present meeting was considered to be a concentration of the smaller ones alluded to; and certainly Pendle-hill, famous in tradition as being the favoured spot for the revels of the Lancashire witches in olden time, did present an imposing, if not an alarming, scene from the immense number of human beings congregated thereon: the leading men amongst the party boast that there were no less than 20,000 persons, but I conceive from 2,000 to 3,000 to be nearer the mark. There were, how-ever, great numbers scattered upon the surrounding hills, who merely kept at a respectful distance as curious spectators of the scene. Feargus O'Connor and Mr. McDowall were expected amongst them, but these gentlemen, ahving done all their power to encourage the lawless proceedings of the many, like true demagogues, found it convenient to absent themselves when the slightest danger was to be apprehended. Probably they heard a whisper that the magistrates of the county had it in contemplation to vindicate the law by taking the promoters of the Sunday meetings into custody. On finding that O'Connor and McDowall were not in the neighbourhood, the deluded people expressed strong indignation at what they termed their cowardice.
From an early hour in the morning the people were seen traversing the various roads on the way to the hill, and many of them travelled 20 miles, and 20 miles back again, in a scorching hot day without a penny in their pockets, in the vain hope that the spouters of sedition and treason would be enabled to devise some means of bettering their condition. For a length of time the operatives in the towns above-named, together with Whaley and Todmorden, have experienced great distress, and the New Poor Law Bill being found wholly inapplicable to their relief, they have been an easy prey to the designs of the agitators, both of the Chartist and Anti-Corn Law shools, each faction having continued to thrust upon their path the wily lecturers. It was the paid lecturers of the Chartist Convention who advised the camp meetings upon the hills. The Anti-Corn Law League have covered the walls of these districts with the large placards headed "Murder of Englishmen," detailing an absurd falsehood about a starving family being obliged to live upon dead dogs.
The meeting was called for 12 o'clock, but in consequence of the Colne men mistaking the opposite side of the hill for the place of meeting, a delay was occasioned, and it was nearly 3 o'clock before they were finally mustered. Having no great penchant for personally attending meetings of this description, where strangers are generally pointed out as spies and left to the tender mercies of a mob by the leaders, I contented myself with taking a bird's eye view of the assemblage from the village of Sabden, a gentleman lately connected with a Chartist newspaper, and known to the parties, undertaking to furnish me with the particulars of "the doings." On his arrival there he found a hustings formed of sods, and the chair, made of the same material, occupied by a Mr Wood. Having been asked what paper he belonged to, it was put to the meeting whether a reporter should be allowed to remain, and the response was "that he mut, if he put down aw reetly" (might, if he put down all correctly.) The chairman opened the business of the day in a speech of much declamation, in the course of which he denounced the House of Commons as the greatest enemies of the people.
BEESLY, from Accrington, one of the New National Convention, was then called upon to state what he had to say. He was not for physical force at present, because they might be worse off, and it was said that they should not resort to it until things came to the worst. The man who lost his limbs was certainly worse off than the man who had them. They were not, in his opinion, yet prepared to meet the soldiers, and therefore they must not be brought before the hired butchers, who were ready to plunder them of their all, and burn their cottages. The people must be more united, and they would then be enabled to break down the laws and obtain their rights. (Cheers.) He for one would have no objection to resist the soldiers if there was any chance of beating them, but he would not advise that resistance now, but rather they should try to beat the Government. (Hear, hear.) If, however, they were resolved to have recourse to physical force, he would undertake to lead them on sooner than see them without a leader. If he could see 100,000 men 21 years of age ready and unted, then the liberties of the people were insured, but until they had union among them he could not advise phhysical force. They must all be determined, as he was, to stand or fall by the Government, the Judges of the land, the police, and the clergy, as the greatest enemies the people ever had.
A man named HOLGATE, from Colne, followed in an inflammatory strain, declaiming against the Government, the Queen, and the Parliament, designating them as "things" set up to opress the poor, and as such stating that they ought to be hurled from the face of the earth!
MOONEY, an Irishman, then commenced, and was a long time finishing an harangue against the army and the magistracy.
TATTERSALL, from Burnley, was the next speaker. He took up an hour's time in endeavouring to persuade the meeting to unite their agitation with that of the Anti-Corn Law League. The Anti-Corn Law party had offered to take them by the hand, and to join the Chartists in their attempts to put down class legislation. It was only by union, and the strength of their right arms, that they could succeed. He was of opinion that it was by physical force alone the country would be made free. (Hear.) Was it to be supposed that a Parliament so chosen as the present would grant the people's charter! No; it was by physical force the Reform Bill was carried, and they must resort to the same. (Loud cheers.) Earl Fitzwilliam commenced a war by threatening to stop the supplies, and Lord Brougham then said, that the time was come when the hands of the people would force their own measures. Nottingham Castle being on fire gave notice of the people's discontent, and it was by these means, and these means alone, the the Reform Bill was carried. He would say, let the people unite and declare that they would never work another week until the charter be obtained. Let them neither sow nor reap, refuse to gather and eat the golden harvest, until they obtained the charter, and their success was certain. (Cheers.)
Several other speakers followed in the same style as the above, each denouncing the Queen, the Government, the Parliament, and the cotton masters, but none of them, like the preceding speakers, stated the object of the meeting, and not one resolution was proposed excepting one to meet again next Sunday at a large hill called Hamilton, in the neighbourhood of Bacoss, and about half way between Todmorden and Rochdale. One of the speakers in his address designated Her Majesty as "a dawdling, useless thing.
The meeting then separated without making any disturbance, but the military were on the qui rive if any had been attempted.
Another camp-meeting of Chartists was held to-day in the neighbourhood of Oldham, which went off peaceably.

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