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153

THE DISTRESS IN LANCASHIRE, AND PRESENT MODES

OF RELIEF.

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Let us look at what the distress in the and which contain the great bulk of manufacturing districts means, so far as the population to which these returns figures can enable us to judge of its of pauperism apply. Here is the state nature and extent.

of employment in the towns to which According to the returns of the state of we refer, in the week for which we have pauperism in the twenty-four or twenty- given the above pauperism returns : six unions specially affected by the cotton crisis, which Mr. H. B. Farnall, the

Usually

Wholly special commissioner, presented to the Towns.

ployed.

ployed. Manchester Central Executive Relief Committee on the 3d of November last,

Ashton . 12,136 1,145 4,233 6,758 the average pauperism was then 10.8 per cent.—that is, one in every ten

Stalybridge 11,521 1,251 5,786 4,484 of the inhabitants was then in receipt

Dukinfield. 26,450 1,541 12,181 12,728 of parochial relief. But, looking more

27,424 3,815 | 10,735 12,874 narrowly into these returns, we find

Blackburn 27,273 3,857 6,079 17,337 that the per-centage of pauperism varies

Manchester 48,220 18,059 very much, and in some districts is

14,749 15,412 as high as 20 per cent. Here are the per-centages in a few of the more heavily We

may

leave out of the account, for burdened unions over which Mr. Far

our present purpose, the number and nall's special supervision at present proportion of "full time extends :- Ashton-under-Lyne, 20-7; -

time” workers, and look only at the Preston, 17:8; Blackburn, 17:1; Man- proportion which the “wholly unemchester, 15.6 ; Stockport, 11.5. These ployed” bear to the number “usually figures reveal an immense amount of employed.” We exclude the full-time poverty and consequent suffering ; but workers because they are, of course, able they are far from telling the whole to maintain themselves; and we exclude truth. The "pauperism"-by which we the short-time workers because, if not mean the poverty which appeals to the able to earn what can maintain them in guardians for relief--is no certain cri- the comfort to which, in better times, terion of the “destitution” which pre- they may have been accustomed, they vails in any particular district. The are yet earning sufficient to prevent returns of “pauperism” do not even them becoming claimants on either the show the proportion in which different board of guardians or the relief commitparts of the cotton districts are affected tee. How, then, does the proportion by the common calamity. According which the "wholly unemployed” bear to the above returns, Ashton-under- to the usually employed " in these

“ Lyne would seem to be in a worse plight different towns correspond with the perthan Preston or Blackburn; while Black- centage of "pauperism" as given above? burn appears to be rather better off To present the result in a clearer light, than Preston. But a different result we place the per-centages of what we is arrived at when we look at the state will call the “pauperism” in juxtaposiof employment in the different towns tion with the “destitution," as indicated which form the centres of these unions, by the employment returns :

Towns.

Destitution.

Ashton

55.68

Ashton

47.57

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.

178

Dukinfield 48.12
Preston 46.94
Blackburn. 64.08
Manchester. 31.96

51.93

Preston
Blackburn

178

Manchester . 15.6

.

115

Unions. Pauperism. These discrepancies between the

"pauperism” returns and the “destituStalybridge. 38.92 Average

tion returns of the different parts of the distressed districts are to be accounted for by the labours of the Local Relief Committees, and the other means,

public and private, which are in operaStockport

Stockport

tion for the mitigation of the distress. These per-centages of “ destitution” And in this view, the comparison we tell a widely different tale from the have instituted, is valuable. The one per-centages of “ pauperism.” In Ashton column shows the destitution which has Union, for instance, it is sad enough to to be relieved, and the other the extent know that the recipients of parochial to which the parochial rates are made relief number one-twentieth of the use of for that purpose ; while the prowhole population ; but it is still more portion which the one bears to the saddening to know that fifty-five out of other indicates the extent to which every hundred of the bread-winners, voluntary subscriptions and private becommonly known as operatives, in the nevolence have been made available in town of Ashton are now wholly unem- the different districts. The “pauperism" ployed, and without the means of of Ashton Union is about 3 per cent. supporting either themselves or their greater than that of Blackburn ; but, if . families by their own industry. In Blackburn threw on to the parochial Stalybridge and Dukinfield, in the same

rates a proportionate amount of its disparochial union, the destitution is not

tress, (taking the average of the destiquite so great; but it will be seen that tution in the towns comprised within the average of the three towns, which the Ashton Union, and comparing it form the bulk of the union, is 47.57 with the destitution in Blackburn,) the per cent. ; or, in other words, 47{ out “ pauperism” of Blackburn would be of every hundred of the operative popu- 27:88 per cent., instead of 17.1 per lation are now wholly unemployed. The cent. And a similar comparison becondition of Preston is slightly more tween Blackburn and Preston shows favourable; but that of Blackburn is that, were Blackburn to depend on the very much worse than the average of poor-rates for the relief of its distress the towns in the Ashton Union. Indeed, to the same extent as Preston does, its the destitution of Blackburn exceeds by pauperism would be increased to 24:29 nine per cent. even the very high rate per cent. It thus appears that Blackwhich is shown to exist in the town of burn, as compared with Ashton, saves Ashton. The relative position of Ashton the parochial rates to the extent of and Blackburn, as to the amount of 10 per cent. by the other means which poverty and suffering which the crisis are in operation for the relief of the has brought to them, is thus completely distress; and, as compared with Presreversed, and Blackburn is shown to

ton, the saving to the rates, in Blackhave distanced all competitors, and to burn, is about 7 per cent. stand pre-eminently the severest suf- But let it not on this account be ferer by the common calamity. No less thought that Blackburn, even as regards than sixty-four out of every hundred of parochial rates, is not heavily burdened ; her industrious population are now with- for burdened it is, almost beyond the out the means of subsisting by their own capability of its resources.

The very industry. And, if it be borne in mind figures which show the terrible extent that nearly two-thirds of the remaining of its destitution indicate the exhausthirty-six per cent. are only short-time tion of its rate-paying powers ; and, workers, we have given the data of a having regard to the numbers and wealth distress which we may safely say is of the solvent residuum of the popilunparalleled.

lation (after deducting the wholly unemployed, the short time workers, the and relief of so much distress. By impoverished tradesmen, and poor pro- looking at the subject within this comperty-owners), the pauperism that has paratively narrow compass, a more vivid to be borne is proportionately greater perception may be gained of what the than even that of Ashton. Blackburn distress in the cotton manufacturing contains a population of 63,125, and districts really means. the number of workers, of the class I. There is the relief given by the called operatives, is 27,273. In ordi- Guardians. This has increased during nary times these are the bread-winners the last twelve months more than for a population of nearly 55,000 (as- ten hundred per cent. In the Blacksuming that each worker represents also burn district of the Blackburn Union, a non-worker), while they indirectly which includes the borough whose support, by the expenditure of their “ destitution” we have noted above, wages, two or three thousand of the and a few neighbouring townships, conshop-keeping class, and, by the rents taining a population of between three they pay for their cottages, two or three and four thousand, the number who hundred small property-owners.

At were in receipt of out-door relief in the present time, however, 64:08 per the week ending 8th November cent. of these bread-winners are wholly 17,130, and the cost of their relief was without employment, and consequently 9491. 168. 2d. In the corresponding without the means of supporting them- week of last year the number relieved selves or their families by the fruits of was 1,980, and the cost 921. 8s. ld.; their own industry; and their poverty but the normal out-door pauperism of is necessarily the cause of the im- the district costs only about 80l. per poverishment of all who, in ordinary week. While, therefore, the increase times, profit by their prosperity, or during the last twelve months has been depend for subsistence on the circu- about ten hundred" per cent., when lation of their wages. Taking each compared with the normal pauperism unemployed worker to represent also a of the district it has been about 1,180 non-worker-a helpless infant or super

In the amount of in-door annuated parent–there are in Black- relief no proportionate increase has been burn, at the present time, 34,674 persons made—the resources of the guardians in without the means of subsistence, out respect of in-door relief being limited of a total population of 63,125. In by the size of the workhouse ; but a other words, 55 per cent. of the total considerable increase has been made in population are now dependent for their the cost at which the out-relief is addaily bread on public or private charity. ministered, in consequence of the large Add to this 12,000 short-time workers additions which have been made to the and their dependents, and the large staff of officers to enable the guardians number of shopkeepers who are just

with the crisis. At the rate of toppling on the verge of poverty, and relief for the week to which the figures we leave but a very small number in- we have given refer, the cost to the deed of solvent ratepayers to bear the ratepayers of Blackburn township or burden of the daily increasing claims on borough (they are co-extensive) is equal the guardians.

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to a rate of 2d. in the pound per week, Having thus shown Blackburn tn en- or 8s. 8d. in the pound per annum, on joy the unenviable distinction of being the whole rateable value of the property burdened with a larger amount of“ desti- in the township. And, when it is recoltution ” than any other town in the lected how much the abounding destidistressed districts (although its rate of tution lias impoverished the resources of "pauperism " is not the highest), it may the solvent portion of the population of be interesting and profitable to pursue Lancashire-so that on the most modethe inquiry further, and consider the rate estimate, with respect to the whole means in operation for the mitigation of the distressed districts, it is calculated

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that the rates have now to be borne by 16,000,) the local subscriptions an. only two-thirds of the ratepaying pro- nounced in the room amounted to perty-some idea may be formed of the nearly 10,0001. Grants subsequently severity of the pressure in Blackburn. made by the two committees we have When we add to these considera- named have placed in the hands of tions the fact which we have noted the committee what the ex-mayor of above, that the “pauperism” of Black- the borough, in handing over the chairburn bears no such proportion as is manship of the relief committee to his observable in other places to the desti- successor, called “ample resources.” tution which has to be relieved, it will The relief committee commenced the be at once apparent that, were the local distribution of bread and meal in Febrates left to bear unaided the burden of ruary last; and in the first week the the increasing distress, the result would quantity of each which they distributed be little short of the confiscation of the was about 7,500 lbs. Since then the whole property in the township. quantity has increased weekly, of late

II. The labours of the Relief Com- in a greater ratio than formerly; and mittee have been a most valuable supple- now the weekly distribution of each ment to the relief given by the guardians, amounts to about 50,000 lbs., at a cost and have saved from "pauperism” a of about 6001. Up to September last large amount of the destitution. In the committee confined themselves to the earlier months of the distress, when the distribution of bread and meal, and short time and the total stoppage of to the defraying of a small weekly loss mills were but partial, the bread and on the sale of soup at the soup-kitchen. meal distributed by the relief committee But in September they commenced to supplemented the reduced earnings of aid the sewing classes, by a sort of capimany hundreds of families, who, but tation grant of 1s. per week, which for that timely aid, would have been now costs them upwards of 1001. per unable to subsist. Many thousands week; and they have more recently rewho were not poor enough to claim re- solved to make a grant of a similar lief from the guardians, but who were, amount in aid of the reading classes for notwithstanding, in want even of ne- young men, which will cost them an cessaries, and others who felt a reluc- additional 601. per week. To the imtance to become recipients of parish portant subject of clothing they are bounty, have received most seasonable also directing attention, and they have assistance from the relief committee. resolved both to increase the scale of The first fund at the disposal of the relief, and add to the bread and meal committee was commenced towards the which they distribute, tickets which close of last year. The local subscrip- will enable the recipients to procure tions were on a comparatively moderate many little necessaries and comforts scale—there being an impression that which their present state of total dethe distress would not last beyond the pendence on public or private charity winter months ; but, with grants from prevents them from obtaining otherwise. the Lord Mayor's Committee and the In short, the relief committee appear to Central Committee in Manchester, the be preparing for the exigencies of a very fund collected and expended up to the severe winter, and they contemplate time when a second subscription was in- nothing less than a weekly expenditure augurated in October last, amounted to of 1,5001. 12,5921. At the meeting to commence III. The other modes of relief in the second subscription, the condition operation in Blackburn are Sewing and and prospects of the town being very Reading Classes, and an Industrial much altered for the worse, (the 1,500 School. These are under the managewho were wholly out of employment ment and superintendence of the clergy when the first subscription was of the Church, and ministers of different menced having increased to about religious denominations, who are assisted

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in the sewing classes by the ladies then the numbers attending the Church belonging to their respective congrega- classes have increased to 1,050, and tions, while paid teachers, generally towards the expenses incurred the some of the better educated of the un- relief committee make a grant of about employed operatives, assist in the reading 501. weekly—which leaves the clergy a classes and industrial school.

full 501. more to raise by such means The clergy were the first to establish as they adopted at their establishment, sewing classes, which they did on a and during the first two months of their very modest scale, in the room of a maintenance. The Roman Catholic sewlittle cottage, which accommodated ing classes number 680 girls, who receive from fifteen to twenty young women. only the shilling per week allowed by Success crowned the effort ; the claim- the relief committee. In the classes ants for admission became numerous be- connected with the various congregations yond the accommodation and means of of Protestant Dissenters there are 524 support which could at first be provided; girls, who receive a similar allowance to and the clergy made a special appeal, that given to the girls in the Church which met with a liberal response, to classes. The total number of girls and their brethren and the friends of the unmarried women in the different sewChurch in different and distant parts ing classes in the town is now 2,254, of the country. The result was, first, and the allowance which the relief comthat the class rooms at the Mechanics' mittee make on their behalf is 1091. In Institution, which are unoccupied during addition to this, however, there are, conthe day, were placed at the disposal nected with many of the congregations, of the Clerical Committee for sewing classes for married women (on behalf of classes, and soon filled by upwards of whom the relief committee make no 200 unemployed factory girls. Subse- grant), who receive the same allowance quently, the Town Hall was placed for their work and attendance as the at the disposal of the Committee, and girls. A visit to one of these classes, now upwards of 500 girls crowd that that at the Town Hall, for instance, splendid and spacious apartment. In where upwards of 500 girls are at work, hoth places, and in the other sewing is a sight to move the heart of the most schools, subsequently opened in different misanthropic. The cleanly, contented, parts of the town, the girls are arranged and cheerful appearance of the girls in classes, under the care of ladies, who gives no indication of the calamity which have proved themselves zealous volun- has brought them there'; and the visitor teers in this work of mercy. The ex- will be agreeably surprised to hear them ample set by the Church was soon at intervals breaking out into singing followed by the different congregations with heartiness and harmony which, of Dissenters, and subsequently by the in view of the abounding distress, are Roman Catholics. The whole cost of most cheering. the classes established by the clergy- So soon as success had proved the which increased in numbers weekly at expediency of sewing classes for girls, a very rapid ratio—was for the first two the clergy, again in the van, projected months defrayed by the contributions the establishment of reading classes for which they received in response to the

An unoccupied apartment very urgent personal appeals which in a weaving factory was placed at their they addressed to their friends in dif- disposal, and about the beginning of ferent parts of the country. At the September it was opened with a class time the relief committee decided to of about fifty unemployed factory lads, of give them a grant of 1s. per head per fourteen years of age and upwards. In the week, the number of girls attending same place there are now in attendance the Church classes was 670, and the about 400. Other three schools, all in weekly cost about 701., each girl re- unoccupied factories in different parts ceiving 2s. or 18. 6d. per week. Since of the town, have since been opened,

young men.

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