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THE DISTRESS IN THE COTTON-MANUFACTURING
DISTRICTS.


THE poor-law returns for the second week of November show an increase of 10,290 persons relieved in the Lancashire Unions, or 253,640 persons in all.  The Poor-law Board have authorised the guardians of Preston and Blackburn to borrow money under the provisions of the Union Relief Aid Act.  The guardians of Preston are authorised to borrow £3517 0s. 1¾d., and the guardians of Blackburn £3330.  A large quantity of clothing arrived at Preston during the past week, and the distribution of bedding and clothing among the poor unemployed operatives has been made; and their expressions of gratitude have even overwhelmed those who have superintended the distribution with tears, in common with tears of thankfulness from themselves.  Some particulars by our own reporter, of the state of things in Manchester will be found in another column.

    At the weekly meeting of the Mansion House Committee yesterday week the financial statement was read, showing that the contributions during the week amounted to upwards of £35,000.  Among the contributions received were some additional ones from India, and a collection from the Greek church in London-wall amounting to £1400.  The whole sum received since the committee was formed amounts to nearly £174,000.  The committee sat for some time deliberating on the various applications made to them for relief.  They distributed altogether nearly £39,000 among eighty different towns and villages, in sums varying, according to the necessities of the case, from £3000 to £50.  Success beyond expectation has attended the plan of collecting clothing.  The report from the depot at Bridewell showed the number of bales and parcels of clothing, &c., received there up to Thursday night to be 2400.  Besides cast-off clothes, amazing quantities of blankets, flannel, linsey, and the like, have been delivered at the depot from time to time.

    A highly influential meeting was held on Monday in Cork for the purpose of assisting in the relief, and at the close of the meeting subscriptions were handed in amounting to upwards of £1120.  Yesterday week a public meeting was held in Wolverhampton, which was attended by the leading ironmasters, manufacturers, and landed proprietors in that town and the immediate district.  Resolutions were passed to canvass the town, and £1562 was promised in the room£1000 being put down in cash or cheques.  At a town meeting held at Wigan, on Wednesday week, a subscription-list (the third) was announced of £7152.  Amongst these was the Earl of Crawford (£100 a week for five months), £2000; Messrs. Thomas Taylor and Brothers (£800 now and £200 a month for six months), £2000.  At a town meeting at Preston, on Thursday week, a third subscription for the relief of the existing distress was opened.  Upwards of £9000 was promised, including Horrocks, Miller, and Co., £2000; Swainson, Burley, and Co., £1000.  Leeds has subscribed £16,000.  The subscriptions received from Manchester and Salford amounted to about £90,000— viz., £60,000 devoted to general relief and £30,000 for purely local distribution.  Amongst the subscriptions received by the Central Relief Committee at Manchester are the following:—A third sum of £1000 from the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, £2000 from Birmingham, £6000 from Edinburgh.  The Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells has forwarded another sum of £1000, making a total of £2600 as the receipts up to the present time of the parochial collections.  The Wesleyans have raised about £15,000, and expect to make it about £30,000, half of which will be given to the general fund, and the other half appropriated to the relief of their own people.

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ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS
29th November, 1862


LANCASHIRE DISTRESS AND RELIEF ORGANISATION.
MANCHESTER.

(From our own Correspondent.)


I AM now in a position to enter pretty fully into the organisation for the relief of the distressed operatives at Manchester. I will commence by stating what is being done by the guardians. Manchester, with a population of 332,000, is divided into three unions. The Township Union contains 190,000 people. The value of the property on which the rate is assessed is £850,000. The rate laid in June last for the whole year was 3s. 8d. in the pound, and it is expected that another rate of 1s. 6d. at least must be raised to carry the guardians through the year. Out of this population 12,311 cases are now in receipt of outdoor relief, representing 31,285 persons; 3443 received indoor relief: in all, 34,428. Without specifying in particular this union, I think I shall be correct in saying that, throughout the unions of Manchester and Salford, the relief granted by the guardians amounts to 1s. 6d. per head per week. The workhouses generally are full of those old stereotyped cases of pauperism for whom the picking of oakum is a worthy employment; but many of the better class are removed to Crumpsal, where some 1000 or 1200 may be seen reducing a farm of fifty acres to a state of Belgian tillage. The labour-test has for the most part, however, given way to public opinion. A different test is sought to be established. Several schools for adult recipients of relief have been established. In Jersey and Bengal streets two are to be found containing 1200 men, who receive relief on condition that they attend. Besides this, the guardians very properly recognise the schools established by masters in their mills, and are willing to regard attendances there as work done. I visited one school or sewing-class of this kind at the Phoenix Mill, St. Jude's parish, where 160 women and girls above sixteen years of age received 2s. 6d. a week, the relief committee adding 1s. 2d., or at least so much as brought the sum total to 3s. 4d. With regard to the children, no advantage has been taken as yet of Denison's Act. The school pence are paid by private individuals in many cases, but not by the guardians.
 

School for mill operatives at Stirling's Mill, Lower Moseley Street, Manchester.


    I now come to the operations of the Central, Executive, and Local Relief Committees. The two first particularly undertake to collect money, to receive money and clothing transmitted from various parts, and to see to the distribution of these to the local committees throughout the suffering districts of the county. Of the executive committee Lord Derby is chairman. Over the general committee the Mayor of Manchester presides, with J. W. Maclure, Eq., for hon. secretary. The total of the Manchester subscription amounts to about £75,000. The Cotton Districts Relief Committee grants £12,000 monthly; the Liverpool Operatives Relief Fund Committee grants £6000 monthly; while from other sources some £90,000 have flowed in to the fund administered at Manchester. It is also necessary to notice a collecting committee, recently appointed, to whose strenuous canvass a considerable amount of the increased supply of means is due. The general committee now meets in the warehouse lent by Earl Ducie. The ground floor is used for the reception and dispatch of parcels of clothing, which arrive in large quantities from all parts of the kingdom. These are carried to an upper floor, where they are opened, sorted, and repacked. Each bale contains an equal number of articles; and as the clothing is granted to the local committees in bales nothing remains but to take the number required from the heap in reply to an order. Some ninety packages arrive every day, and, as about 25 people are employed in packing and unpacking, the scene, as shown in last week's Issue, is necessarily a busy one.
 

The Manchester and Salford Provident Society distributing clothing.


    This general committee has nothing to do with individual relief. This is intrusted to local committees. So far as Manchester and Salford are concerned, advantage has been taken of the staff of the District Provident Society. From the report of this institution, which was established in 1833, I find that it had originally two functions:—First, that of an inquiry office, to which cases of mendicity were referred by its subscribers for investigation; secondly, it act as a penny bank. It rarely gave relief, but "sent back each case, with the ascertained facts, to the subscribers who had initiated the inquiry." As a banking establishment it took charge, at fifteen offices throughout the town, of the small savings of the poor. Here was a body of managers and a staff of visitors, with an energetic secretary in Mr. James Smith. The usual business having fallen off in consequence of the distress, the managers, "while not abandoning their annual subscription of £400 to £500," offered to undertake the distribution of any loan which might be intrusted to them. The result is that nearly the whole relief of Manchester is now administered by this body, which, without any canvassing, has received £15,000 to mitigate this distress, and about £10,000 additional from the central fund. The society professes now to have completed its organisation. A perfect network has been improvised. This large community is divided into seventeen districts, with their several committees, all acknowledging the headship of the committee of the Provident Society, under the presidency of the Bishop of Manchester. Some of its most influential members are J. Heywood, Esq., M.P.; Messrs. S. Fletcher, W. Langton, E. Lloyd, T. H. Birley, Oliver Heywood, and Herbert Philips. On the local committees are to be found one representative from each religious body, millowners, tradesmen, and mill-overlookers. The utmost catholicity is thus preserved. The work of visitation is intrusted to paid agents; but, deeming this insufficient, the committee visits as well. Millowners, clergymen of all denominations, all people of influence whatever throughout Manchester, are supplied with forms, to be filled in with the names of those who may apply for relief or be sought out and found to require it. These forms are forwarded to the office of the society in John Dalton-street. The secretary at once transmits the form concerning A. by special messenger to C., the committee of the district where A. resides. A. is looked up at once, and a relief-ticket is granted, bearing a specified number, and the original form containing all particulars with respect to A. is returned to the office, a like number being attached to it. When the turn for A.'s district to receive relief comes, he presents his ticket at the pay office, finds his relief already calculated according to scale, and receives coloured cards for the amount in meal, and bread, and soup. Suppose I give an example: —District A 1, E. W., aged fifty-two, washes, five children; total family, six; total earning, 4s. 6d.; parochial relief, 4s.; society's relief, 3s. 4d. in tickets. Again: S. and J. C., age, thirty-five; number of children, four; total, six; guardians' relief, 0; society's relief, 3s. And, be it remembered, that the relief of the society in kind exceeds the nominal sum in value. In 3s. the recipients gain about 6d. Every recipient of relief also obtains, without application, a grant of coals, and, I believe, of clothing. On another page will be found the store or shop at which these poor people exchange their tickets for food. Upon these tickets the dealer, of course, claims repayment of the society. Last week were given views of the Friends' Soup Kitchen to which the Provident Society commissions its devouring army, and full particulars were given concerning the quantities consumed. I may repeat, however, that it is sold below cost price. This society takes personal oversight of about 4000 families which do not come within these districts. For the purpose of dealing efficiently with these an old mill in Garden-lane was taken five months since, and there I found depot for clothing, the working offices of the committee, and sewing-schools. The appeal for clothes had been well responded to, but, on the day I visited the place not a remnant of the stock remained. Two days earlier, and I should have found the apartments full.
 

Provision-shop where goods are obtained for tickets issued by the
Manchester and Salford Provident Society.


    The committee had been clearing the warehouses of unsalable goods at cheap rates and obtaining gifts of blankets, &c., and such was the stock I saw. "This week," said the secretary to me, "we have expended £5000 in clothing, but it will all be gone in ten days." I wish I could stop to dwell on the distribution scene, but the pencil-picture of it on another other page is much more striking than any word-picture I could give. Fancy, however, must lend to the faces their careworn and grateful expression. The people are full of gratitude; and if I here say that one happy result of this calamity will be the blending of classes, and the lesson to the lower class concerning the affectionate regard entertained for them by the higher classes, the remark will not be out of place. The sewing-school here established contains 152 young women, who read, write, and work by turns. The needles are employed for the most part on the new material; but the inmates are also allowed to mend their own clothes. The ladies who manage the class have arranged to give the girls a meal at noon for 1d. The constituents of this potatoes; meat, onions, dripping, pepper and salt—cost (without fuel and plant) from 13s. to 14s. a day, so that it may be called a self-paying concern. The girls work five days a week, and receive 3s. 4d. This old mill may, therefore, be imagined a scene of constant activity, and deserves a fuller description than I can now pretend to give. Before I pass from the operations of this society, I must not omit to say that each district has its sewing-classes, giving employment to 500 or 700 girls, who receive 3s. 4d., a penny dinner, and some elementary teaching. A company of twelve is usually draughted out of each class for housework. They cook the noon meal and keep the apartments clean. Everything is thus done for the comfort of the girls, and for their instruction in arts of which they are so lamentably ignorant. These classes are generally held in the mills: they are perfectly unsectarian; the spirit that pervades them is excellent and the young women recognise with lively gratitude the efforts which are being made for their comfort and instruction. Several of them were visited by me. On questioning the inmates, I found that they had been accustomed to receive from 7s. to 12s. a week, and were doing their best to make the most of the present scanty pittance. It is difficult to say what numbers are thus being cared for, for this movement has not long begun and school and sewing-classes are daily rising up in all parts of the city and its suburbs.
 

The sewing-class at the Manchester and Salford Provident Society's rooms.


    This, then, is the agency for the relief of the Manchester poor. It is not perfect, for it is constantly expanding; but it is as complete as can be expected, and the public may well repose confidence in it. Some few parishes, however, have not made themselves amenable to the Provident Society. I introduce here the last weekly statement, to Nov. 17, of one of these—St. Jude's—by way of example :—Heads of families relieved, 1143; individuals, 3438; sewing-class, 160 young women. Cost of provisions distributed—Bread, £43 2s. 5d.; groceries, £12 10s.; soap, £5; potatoes, £24; coal, £8; payments to staff, 16s.: total, £93 8s. 5d. Weekly collections—Firms within the parish £33; collected by members of the committee within the parish, £4; grant from central committee, £240; Lord Mayor's committee, £150; other sources, £1: total, £428. Some parishes refuse to unite with the society because they prefer to uphold the sectarian spirit.

    So far as I can understand, the religious bodies of Manchester are rather behind those of other places in devising means for the support of their own poor. Now, however, they are waking up and doing much to clothe and feed the destitute. Their appeals have been well responded to, and the help sent is, so far as I can learn, carefully expended. In justice to those most accustomed to rely on the voluntary principle, I must add that they not only know how to ask, but how to give.

    Amongst the most successful efforts to relieve distress is that made by a merchant's clerk, a young gentlemen of the name of Birch. During the early part of this cotton famine Mr. Birch became the almoner of a nobleman. The sum intrusted to him was £40 a week, and in looking about for fitting recipients of it he seems to have been struck with the idea of sewing-schools as the best means of saving the over-tempted female mill-hands, and determinately threw himself with a simpler faith and without money into this service. I say without money, because he would not appropriate the £40 to it. He collected some fifty of his helpless clients at the Hulme Working Men's Institute, engaged a matron, and set them to work. It was with difficulty he succeeded in begging the money to pay the 3s. 4d. each at the close of the first week. The hit was popular, his class was increased the following week to 107. A touching appeal in a Manchester print enabled him to discharge the duties of paymaster with honour, but the doors of the institute were besieged with applicants for admission. Numbers soon increased to 700; still he was supplied with money, and various church and chapel Sunday schoolrooms were placed at his disposal. In all, at the present time, there are thirteen schools thus occupied five days a week, and an aggregate of 2800 souls. Mr. Birch has raised £4107, his weekly expenditure is now £400, and at the close of the week ending Nov. 15, he had only a balance sufficient to pay for two days! This effort of a genuine faith has been encouraged from the Lord Mayor's Fund, the Central Relief Fund, and is, I believe, receiving the support of the guardians. The class assembled in Dr. Munro's school I visited: 344 young women were working there, while ladies were reading to them. Two-thirds of them were Roman Catholics, and consequently the books read were sectarian. The needles are employed upon old clothes and new material. The products of this industry are sold to pay wages. The sales last week amounted to £81. Success is written in the boldness of this dashing movement.
 

Operatives reading the latest news from America--a scene in Camp-Field Free Library, Manchester.


    While speaking of Hulme, I must mention the institute for men, supported by the Township Relief Committee. An old mill with three floors has been lent for the purpose, where about 400 men are congregated to read and write from nine to six o'clock five days a week, under proper teachers. Two meals a day are provided for them on the foundation floor, while on the two others, supplied with tables and educational requisites, they polish their wits, and chat and smoke in leisure hours. The windows are festooned with coloured calico, the whole building is warmed and lighted, musical instruments are lent by gentlemen, lectures are delivered every evening, and one evening no even a week is given to music, songs, recitations, and drollery. These men are all in the receipt of relief. I mingled freely with them, and found the best spirit to pervade them. Their docility and respect is very touching. The old hard, insolent manner seems to be quite softened down. Their teachers are looked upon with great affection. I spoke with them as to the effect the affliction might have in opening their eyes to the possibility of finding delight in something besides a large tale of work and high wages, in giving them a taste for the refined pleasures of intellectual life, and my remarks met with much concurrence. There are other schools of this kind, but I mention this as the best I saw.

    I have now noticed all that is being done in the cause of the distressed operatives of Manchester with means drawn from the public purse and set forth in subscription lists. In addition, private and hidden streams are flowing from the masters of silent mills to their suffering workpeople. Some correspondents have doubted whether instances of this sort of benevolence are numerous. I only know that it would be on easy matter for me to fill up the page with the recital of them, but this is impossible. There are plenty of cases in which, though the mill is stopped, the hands are receiving £20, £30, £40, and £50 a week, in kind or cash, and many where the whole mill staff is kept off the rates or the fund. The efforts put forth at the Chorlton and Sterling mills afford noble examples of this fact, and must on some other occasion receive more notice. The Reading-class in the latter is pictured on another page. These private acts do not reveal themselves; they spring from men who are doing only what they feel to be right, and who object on this ground to be held in the public eye. Several milliners have said to me, "You may come and see what I am doing, but only on condition that you mention no names." The fact that the workpeople are contented and grateful possesses a significance as yet imperfectly appreciated. That the operative class can rise at the cry of injustice is shown clearly enough by the late riot at Blackburn.
 

Dwellings of Manchester operatives.


    Considerable doubt is expressed lest relief, coming to the poor from so many independent sources, should be abused. The thorough-going, regular pauper is in clover; there can be no question about that, He looks with pleasure as rank upon rank from the industrious population fall to his level. Little chance is there, however, of families obtaining more than 2s. a head, so well are the cases investigated. The guardians set their faces very resolutely against one device which is employed to increase receipts—I mean the breaking up of families; the boys and girls going into lodgings so that they may claim separate relief. But in Manchester this is not found to be the great difficulty. The people, as a rule, had rather starve than ask relief, and they are in more danger of starving than of living riotously upon the proceeds of imposition. House-to-house visitation sets the sceptic right on this point in very quick time. I have made my observations on these families in all their stages, even to those where death was within a few steps waiting to close the hard but unsuccessful struggle for life. Such a morning's work entails an empty pocket so surely as it is undertaken, for one cannot withstand the intense pleading of silent want. Halfpence will drop out into little famished hands, and shillings into the arms of mothers who weep over the sufferings of the children from whose cheeks the roses have fled long since. Yet I never once was asked for charity, and the district visitor must use the query cleverly if he will probe the wound. I will take two or three cases from my notebook, by the help of which the touching scenes portrayed by the artist will be better realised. One house I went into contained a family of seven. They had been accustomed to earn 27s. 6d., and now obtained from all sources less than 2s, a head, and they had 1s.6d. to pay for rent. They were occupying two rooms only, the bedding had all disappeared, and they lay on the bare bedstead at night, huddled together, without removing their ragged clothes. Again: a man and wife, with eight children. The husband's parochial relief, 7s. 6d.; from the relief fund, 3s. 6d. and one cwt. of coal. Out of this 11s. a week 1s. 6d. should be paid for rent, and the remainder is left to support a family which has been accustomed to 45s. Again: a family of seven. The husband is sickly, two boys earn 5s., no parish relief, the relief fund affords 5s. They have been accustomed to 37s. weekly. The rent is 2s. 1d. The boys are hearty. "What is there," as the poor mother said, "on which they can exercise their appetites?" Again: a family of eleven; parish. relief, 8s. 6d.; from committee, 6s.; rent, 3s. They have been out of employ forty-one weeks, and have never received more than 16s. a week. I asked how they had managed to exist, and was told that the 65s. per week which they did earn formerly helped them to occupy a nice house, to stock it with new furniture, to lay up a little in the bank, and to buy a share in some co-operative concern. First the deposits were drawn front bank, then some of the superfluous furniture was sold, then the share so proudly held was relinquished, and after that the course had been one of rather rapid descent. Before this family came upon the ratepayers they had expended property of their own to maintain the policy of the country with regard to the American States amounting to £30. I might extend the catalogue, but there is no need for it. We may as well stop with this last instance, which affords so true a picture of the operative classes, and the losses they have personally sustained before they have allowed themselves to fall upon public charity. If we take the pressure of this great calamity upon the population of Manchester alone, and estimate its value in money, we may easily calculate that the rate which has been borne has not been simply one of 3s. 8d. in the pound, but one more nearly approaching 15s., and this at a time when the huge capital invested in the cotton manufacture has been lying idle. It may be that some millowners are not doing their duty and that cases of imposition occur, but we do not forbear to feed the fowls because the sparrows pick a few kernels of the handfuls we cast to them.

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THE TIMES,
August 13, 1867.

MIDLAND CIRCUIT.
LEEDS, AUG. 12.
NISI PRIUS COURT.—(Before Mr. Baron PIGOTT.)

GARTSIDE V. BRIEFLY.


    Mr. Digby Seymour, Q.C., and Mr. Kemplay were for the Plaintiff; Mr. Maule, Q.C., and Mr. Wills for the defendant.

    This was an action for an assault.  The plaintiff is a cotton-spinner, and the defendant a cloth manufacturer, and both live at Denshaw near Saddleworth.  The plaintiff is also a trustee of the school and churchwarden of the parish church, and the defendant is a member and the chief promoter of a reading club at Denshaw.  This club was opened on the 24th of March last year, and some of the trustees, without consulting the plaintiff, had given permission to use the schoolroom for an opening entertainment, Dr. Ramsden presided on the occasion; and Mr. Edwin Waugh, known as the "Lancashire Poet" had consented to give readings from a prose work of his, entitled Besom Ben.  The entertainment was diversified by hymns and other vocal music given by the church choir.  In the middle of the evening, about half-past 8 o'clock, the plaintiff went into the school-room and found Mr. Waugh engaged in reading an extract from Besom Ben.  This tale, which is founded upon an old story very popular in Lancashire, relates the adventures of a tinker of Lobden with his donkey.  On one of his excursions Ben arrives at a mill where sacks of corn are being hoisted from the ground to an upper floor, and having sent the man in charge at the bottom for some beer, conceived the idea of sending up his donkey in place of a sack of corn.  This is done by attaching the hoisting rope to the belly-band of the ass, and the story then proceeds to describe the behaviour of the donkey and his master during the ascents as follows:"The rope gradually tightened and as soon as the donkey felt itself lifted it started from its peaceful dream.  Its eyes glistened with fear, and it gave unmistakable evidence of a strong dislike to take flight into heaven that night and leave dull earth behind it.  The poor brute struggled to lay hold of the ground with its feet.  But fate was too strong for Balaam."  In the mill are two men called Twitchel and Riprap, and their emotions at sight of the ascending donkey are thus described, "A jackass! Iv it isn't aw'll go to the crows!" said Twitchel, gathering himself up and staring with all his eyes from the back of a bag of wool, "Ay, it is a jackass," said Riprap, rubbing his eyes and going nearer to make sure of the thing.  "It's a jackass, begow.  Heaw's th' moon, Twitch!"  The story then goes on to tell how as the tail came round Twitchel tried to catch the donkey by it, and was rewarded by a violent kick "a little below the dinner-trap."

    The case for the plaintiff was that upon hearing this he gave utterance to an exclamation of disapproval, whereupon the defendant came up to him and seizing him by the collar threw him down and knocked his head against the floor.

    On cross-examination, the plaintiff was asked to read the passage he disapproved.  At first he excused himself, on the ground that the story was in the Lancashire dialect, while he was a Yorkshireman; but upon being pressed to translate it into Yorkshire, read the following passage descriptive of Ben's feelings during the ascent of the donkey.  "'Howd fast, good bally-bant," cried Ben, gazing up and clasping his hands, "Hawd fast; iv thae gi's way aw'm done for.  Eh, Dimple!  I wish thee and me wur safe a whom this neet.  What a stark, starin' jumped up foo' au wur to send tho up theer!  Iv that bally-bant breiks, aw'll jow' my yed straight off again this stone wole.  Iv aw duunnot, aw'll go to th' say.  Weigh! gently!  Take care, owd bird!  Aw'Il never face Lobden again iv owt happen thee—never while aw've teeth an' een i' my yed!"  This was the passage, the plaintiff said, which caused him to utter the sounds of disapproval.

    The case for the defendant was that the plaintiff was quite drunk, and was interfering with the pleasure and harmony of the evening by uttering exclamations in a sneering tone, such as "Oh, oh!"  "Ah, ah!"  "Just so!"  "What fun!"  The defendant went up to him, and, offering to find him a seat, requested him to discontinue annoying the company.  The plaintiff, however, persisted in his conduct, whereupon the defendant took hold of him and gently removed him from the room.

    The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff for 40s.

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THE COTTON FAMINE.


There's a moan on the gale, there's a cry in the air,
'Tis the wail of distress, 'tis the sigh of despair
All silent and hushed is the factory's whirl,
And famine and want their black banner unfurl
Where the warm laugh of childhood is hushed on the ear,
And the glance of affection is met by the tear;
Where hope's lingering embers are ready to die,
And utterance is choked by the heartbroken sigh.


From "A Visit to Lancashire in December, 1862,"

By ELLEN BAILEE.                  


THE supply of cotton from North America nearly ceased in consequence of the secession of the Southern States from the Union in 1860-61.  At the beginning of the latter year the prospect seemed to the operatives so bright that they pressed for an advanced in wages.  In March there was a turn-out of weavers at several mills.  Somewhat suddenly the American Civil War broke out, and at once it was realised that the mills must close for want of cotton unless the war came to an end soon.  The weavers returned to work after a brief struggle, but the war continued and the mills were run short time.  Some were closed altogether, and the operatives, with aching hearts, became unwilling recipients of relief.  "Short commons and long faces," said one, were his recollections of the "panic."  "I wur nobbut a lad at th' time, but I'd a lad's keen feelin's, especially in certain vital parts.  I wur punced through th' panic, I wur."

    So scarce did employment become that in the winter of 1862-3 nearly 7,000 of 11,484 operatives usually employed were out of work, and a large number of those employed were on short time.  Of 39 cotton manufactories, 24 foundries and machine shops, and three bobbin turning shops in the town, only five were employed full time with all hands; 17 full time with a reduced number of hands; 34 on short time; and seven were stopped.  A gigantic system of relief was organised in the town, and it is said that more than three-fourths of the population became dependent.  The cotton operatives were not so well organised as now, and what little they had saved was soon exhausted.  Contributions of money, immense quantities of clothing, and cloth for making up flowed in from all parts of England.  To provide food for the distressed people orders on grocers in the town were issued.  To clothe them the garments received from various parts were distributed, and the tailors of the town were employed by the relief committee to make up the cloth.  When that work was done many of the tailors went to the workhouse, some to repair the clothing of the inmates, and some to become inmates themselves.  The Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Hoare started a school in the Albion Mills, employing a tailor to teach the men who attended to mend their own clothing.  Another considerate action of Mr. Hoare's was to forego his fees for marriages solemnised at St. Paul's.  Mr. James Buckley, of Buckley and Newton's, was a generous helper.  It is said that he told the people, "You'll never starve so long as you have plenty of bacon and potatoes," and he gave large quantities of those comestibles.  About the beginning of 1863 our society distributed quantities of stew from the butchering department.

    Mr. B. Worth had the shop at the end of Castle Street.  On one occasion a mob of half-famished people went for it, but Mr. Worth was prepared.  He announced that if they would come at ten o'clock the next morning he would distribute 200 loaves.  The crowd passed on; at the appointed time the loaves were thrown from the windows and caught by the people.

    Sewing schools were opened for the women and girls, who were paid for attending, and instructed in dressmaking and other sewing work each afternoon, and in ordinary school subjects in the morning.  These are referred to in Sam Laycock's "Sewin' Class Song"


Come, lasses, let's cheer up an' sing
    It's no use lookin' sad;
We'll mak' our sewin' schoo' to ring,
    An' stitch away like mad.
We'll try an' mak' th' best job we con
    O' owt we han to do;
We read, an' write, an' spell, an' keawnt,
    While here at th' sewin' school'.

Sin' th' war began, an' th' factories stopped,
    We're badly off, it's true,
But still we needn't grumble,
    For we'n noan so mich to do;
We're only here fro' nine to four,
    An' han an hour for noon;
We noather stop so very late,
    Nor start so very soon.


    One rather humorous local incident may be remembered by some readers.  Mr. Bates' mill in Castle Street was used as one of the relief stores.  A man stationed at the door for the purpose of regulating the applicants had a way of issuing the command "Hook it!" to any applicant who became importunate.  The expression stuck to the man the rest of his life, and after his death people were asked, " Do'st know Hook-it's 'dead?"

    Another, a retired army sergeant, marched out numbers of the unemployed men and put them through exercises; anything to keep them occupied.

    The decision of the relief committee to issue tickets instead of money resulted in the "Bread Riots."  The great excitement commenced on the morning of Thursday, March 19th, 1863, when the executive committee sent word to the schools that relief would be given by ticket at the rate of 3s. a week, but that a day in hand would be kept.  The scholars objected.  They contended that they ought to receive their "wages" in money and to the full amount, or attend what they termed the labour test certain hours per week less.  The tickets were refused, and a vast crowd congregated around Castle Street Mill.  The windows of a cab in which Mr. Bates and Mr. J. Kirk were riding had its windows smashed, portions of the mill machinery were broken, and missiles were thrown at the police, who had turned out under the superintendence of Mr. Wm. Chadwick, chief constable.  The officers were quite overpowered by the mob, which numbered hundreds.  Much damage was done to shops in Market Street, particularly those occupied by Mr. Brierley, the druggist, and Mr. Dyson, the eating-house keeper, and the shopkeepers were soon busy putting up their shutters.  The animus of the mob seemed to be directed, however, toward the more prominent members of the relief committee.  At Mr. Bates' house, in Cockerhill, windows were broken and many valuable pieces of furniture destroyed, even young women joining in the wanton destruction.  From there the mob turned again to Market Street, Melbourne Street, and Caroline Street.  Every window of the Central Relief Committee rooms in Melbourne Street was smashed.  At the shop of Mr. Ashton, another member of the relief committee, bottles, canisters, and groceries were thrown about and destroyed savagely.  There was also an onslaught on our society's drapery department in Caroline Street, but the mob desisted when it was found that the shop was not Mr. Ashton's property.  Two adjoining shops were used as relief stores.  They were quickly broken open, and a scene more disgraceful perhaps than any other enacted.  Piles of clothing and cloth were hurled out of the upper windows to the people in the street.

    A cry was raised that the soldiers were coming, but amidst laughter from the mob it was declared to be only a woman in a red cloak, and the work of destruction went on, several things being wantonly set on fire, until, a little after half-past five, a company of the 14th Hussars from the Ashton Barracks, under the command of Captain Chapman, appeared in sight.  The soldiers galloped along flourishing their swords, and every one in the crowd looked to his or her personal safety.  Some of those still in the store, in attempting a hasty retreat, fell at the entrance; others behind were thrown upon them, and there the people lay, five or six deep, male and female, when the soldiers reached them.  The police were almost as soon as the Hussars, and some who had created such havoc were easily captured.  Amidst the hooting and yelling, Mr. D. Harrison read the Riot Act, and the troops proceeded to clear the streets.  To escape detection some of the plunderers burned the clothing; others threw it into the canal and the river Tame, and various articles of wearing apparel could be seen for some time floating on the water.  Special constables were sworn in, armed with sabres, and arrangements were made for the calling in of fifty of the Cheshire police force should their services be required.  Under the protection of the military the police visited certain parts of the town, where they found large quantities of the stolen clothing, and many more people were taken into custody.  At 10 o'clock the soldiers were called off and the town was left to the guardianship of the police and special constables.  When the prisoners were brought before the magistrates they were admonished by Mr. David Harrison (chairman) and Mr. John Cheetham.  It was a most disgraceful thing, they were told, that after so much had been done for the people the benefactors should be turned upon and abused as they had been.  Mr. Bates, for instance, had opened his door to the people, and this was the return they had made for his kindness.  He (Mr. Cheetham) had been speaking publicly in London, within a fortnight, of the high character he thought they had won for their patience and forbearance under their trials.  He felt it deeply; he felt that they had not only alienated the people at a distance, but had disgraced the town.  Many of the prisoners were committed to Chester for riot.

    There was further resistance to the police and military when two omnibuses appeared for the purpose of conveying the prisoners to the railway station to take train for Chester, brickbats and other missiles being thrown.  The people vowed that they would have something to eat before they went to bed, and would "clem" no longer.  Prisoners to the number of 29 were placed in a separate railway carriage and left the station amidst loud cheering.  Twice the cavalry rode through the mob, creating the greatest consternation, and a company of infantry marched the streets with fixed bayonets, but little personal injury was done.  On one or two occasions blood was drawn; the sight of it had a great effect on the crowd, and order was restored.

    In the spring and summer of 1865 a few more hands were employed in the mills.  When the panic was at its height there were, it is said, 730 houses and shops empty, and in October, 1866, there were still 620.  It was estimated that before the panic had lasted two years about 1,000 persons had emigrated, and from 1861 to 1866 the population had decreased by 2,000.  At the height of the distress there was the extraordinary spectacle of 84 persons emigrating to Australia in a body, headed through the town by a band of music, with flags flying and thousands of people cheering.

    Mr. William Cooper, referred to elsewhere as the first cashier of the Rochdale Pioneers, wrote to Mr. Holyoake that Stalybridge, Ashton, Mossley, Dukinfield, Hyde, Heywood, Middleton, and Rawtenstall had suffered badly, being almost entirely cotton manufacturing towns, but that none of the stores had failed, so that, taken altogether, the co-operative societies in Lancashire were as numerous and as strong after the cotton panic as before it set in.  Mr. Cooper wrote of Manchester at the same time rather contemptuously, that it was good for nothing then except to sell cotton.  But even Manchester, he said, had created a Manchester and Salford store, maintained for five years an average of 1,200 members, and made for them £7,000 of profit.  What would Mr. Cooper think now, we wonder, of the same Manchester and Salford store, with its 18,000 members?

    In 1852 Mr. T. Bazley warned the country of the danger of trusting to America alone for cotton. In 1857 there was formed the Cotton Supply Association, with our townsman, the late John Cheetham, M.P., as president. The scheme had its inception in the fears of a portion of the trade that some dire calamity must sooner or later overtake the cotton manufacture of Lancashire if it were left to depend upon the treacherous foundation of slave-labour as the main source of its raw material. The association established agencies in various countries, and distributed large consignments of cotton seed and preparatory machinery, but the scheme did not meet with the support it deserved.

In May, 1862, Mr. Bazley stated that through the failure of the American supply the loss to the labouring classes was £12,000,000 a year, and estimated the loss including the employing classes at nearly £40,000,000 a year.  In the Lancashire districtpopulation about 4,000,000—there were receiving parish relief, September, 1861, 43,500 persons; in September, 1862, 163,498.  The Union Relief Act, passed August, 1862, gave much relief by enabling overseers to borrow money to be expended in public works executed by the unemployed workmen.  In October, 1864, much distress still existed, and fears for the approaching winter were entertained.  At that time, it was stated in the Times of 18th January, 1865, there were 90,000 more paupers than ordinary in cotton districts.  In June, 1865, a special commissioner appointed in May, 1862, was recalled by the Poor Law Board, and the famine was declared ended.  £1,000,000 had been expended in two years.  The executive of the central relief fund held their last meeting on the 4th December, 1865.

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