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These are the victims of the Leaguers, who, by cruel lies, induced the New Poor Law Commissioners to overstock the manufacturing districts with your
surplus” population, for the avowed purpose of reducing the wages in their mills !
The doleful tales of these and of thousands of such like, who are not “ merated” by the Leaguers, would make me despond, and give up my country for lost, had I not the Word of Truth for my guide.
When those poor unfortunate victims have visited me, observing the meekness with which they endure sufferings which would drive most men mad, I have consoled myself by remembering the promise of their God—" The poor shall not always be forgotten: the patient abiding of the meek shall not perish for ever !” When I have thought of those wicked, covetous men, who, for thcir own gain, deceived the Government, and entrapped the "simple ones," as the Psalmist has it, "Sitting, lurking in the thievish corners of the streets: and privily, in their lurking dens, murdering the innocent; their eyes being set against the poor. For they lie waiting secretly, even as a lion Jurketh in his den; that they may ravish the poor. They do ravish the poor, when they get him into their net ;"_when the sight of those patient and powerless victims has forced me to think of the cunning and cruel Leaguers, their entrappers and oppressors, I have again found consolation in God's Holy Word; for there it is written—"Arise, O Lord God, and lift up thine hand ; forget not the poor. Surely thou hast seen it, for thou beholdest ungodliness and wrong. Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the poor ; tkou preparest their heart, and thine ear hearkeneth thereto; to help the fatherless and poor unto their RIGHT, that the man of the earth be no more exalted above them !!”
Yes, Sir, in the midst of these otherwise unmitigated woes, in God's Word I do find comfort; therein I assure myself of the downfal of the covetous wrongdoer, and of the establishment of “the RIGHTS of the poor” upon Christian priuciples, by Christian institutions. I therein foresee the fall of that false philosophy, which the greedy men of the League scek to establish and enlarge.
I have read much that the Leaguers have told of the miseries of the people —but, even in this seclusion, I can ascertain that one-half is not by them“ enumerated !" It is, indeed, distressing to read even their tales of woeit is heart-rending to know, that it is impossible, in print or recital, to make another feel how great is now the anguish of the poor! Unable, however, as I am to convey to others the sum of the proper estimate of the sorrows of the destitute, there is One,“ who is touched with the feelings of their infirmities; One,“ who numbers their sighs, and who bottles their tears ;” One, who has com. manded them to “ call upon Him in the day of trouble," and who has assured them, that “ He will regard the prayers of the destitute, and despise not their prayer,” but will“ maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.” He has failed not to remind them, that “the needy shall not always be forgotten:
" the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever." He also assures them, that, “ when He maketh inquisition for blood, He remembereth them ; and for. getteth not the complaint of the poor;" for, this is His Word," the Lord will be a defence for the oppressed, even a refuge in due time of trouble."
Persons who know not what want is, who never felt the keen pangs of hunger, starvation, and all the mental woe of such banishment from home,—who live in afluence or comfort, surrounded by their happy families,—may read of the distress of others, and pity them ; but to apprehend its meaning, to enter into the feelings of those destitute wanderers, they must examine more fully into the woes of England than these Leaguers have dared to penetrate! They seek only for “a case” on which to hang their claim to further depredation—they strive not to sympathize and reliere! Well might those woe-creating monsters refuse to pray to God, when late they met in solemn conclave, and “fell down and humbled themselves, that the congregation of the poor might fall into the hands of their captains,” for “ their mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and fraud : under their tongue is ungodliness and vanity!"
But there are still other thousands of victims of the accursed Factory system uumentioned by the Leaguers!-thousands of neglected, abject, forlorn, degraded, crippled, useless pieces of human lumber, which the Factory system has thrown out of its jaws, because they could minister no longer to the profit of the Leaguers, having been, though juvenile,“ used up,” in the creation of wealth for their oppressors ! To see those living, crawling things (poor creatures, my heart bleeds for them while I write), in dark, damp cellars, crouching upon filthy straw, huddled up, as I have beheld them, like lumps of waste skin, and crooked, stunted bones—so wretched, that they are ashamed to mix even amongst their own kindredi -the very outcasts of the destitude ! (for they feel themselves degraded below the human family) - to think, Sir, of the bodily and the mental anguish of those children of woe, even if they were in plenty, but now hungered almost to perishing -perhaps the last to be fed and attended to in the “home” of destitution, and glad to feast and company with pigs ! (Sir, I do not exaggerate,) – to measure all their woes, requires more perception and tenderness of feeling than is given to man! God only can measure their grief! Strive, if you can, to apprehend somea what of the keenness of “ the iron that has entered into their souls !”
I speak of thousands of poor Factory cripples, who have been carefully and purposely excluded, but must now be added to the lists of the Leaguers. Poor, abject, wretched children, they have been devied the honour of a place in that scroll, because no. sophistry could deny that they were the indisputable victims of the philanthropic (!) Leaguers! It is to reserve to themselves the power of " manufacturing " such wretched, miserable things, that the cruel Leaguers have so long opposed the passing of a Ten Hours' Factory Bill !
Think of those injured ones, and of their sorrows,-their pains in all their joints, and, in very many cases, nought but damp straw to lean on, on the cold stone floor! with iron frames to prop them ! — think of their hunger, and nought bat husks to satisfy it !- then try to feel the horror of their broken spirits — broken so thoroughly, that they, if possible, avoid the sight of man, and often hide themselves, even from their own flesh, their kindred !--and then, if you can, apprehend the awful ruin of their minds !— Pourtray the anguish of their parents and their brethren, dejected, degraded, desponding their grief is augmented in the season of destitution, because the labour of those cripples no longer belps to supply their wants ! They are now a dead weight on the scanty
provision of the rest. Oh, Sir, I have seen what I would fain pourtray; but words are useless, where wretchedness so much abounds!
If our governors could enter into the feelings of those cripples and their families — could realise their pain and grief, and destitution, under the accumulated causes of sorrow which they feel-could breathe their atmosphere, and for a season exist in their cold, damp, cheerless holes, in those sepulchres of the breathing !-and if they could ascertain the cause of all that sorrow, if they are human, they would no longer delay to seek for and provide its remedy.
But, Sir, the Leaguers will not aid them in that search--they will not assist them in that cure! They know too well, that its cause is nowhere to be found, but in their grasping greediness.
Those poor children who are thus sunk belo: humanity, are the victims of that greedy system which the Leaguers seek not to restrain, but to enlarge ! They are the victims of over-production—the examples of false distribution. In them you witness the foundation of our millionnaires ! who have succeeded in their destruction. But remember, erery single Factory cripple is as dear, and cost as much to purchase in the price of Heaven, as a young Cobden, Greg, Ashworth, or Hoole!
Sir, the same system, the sanie men who have ruined these children, the Leaguers, are aiming at yours! and if not restrained by wholesome laws, they will accomplish the ruin of your “ order,” as surely as they have succeeded in crushing those unhappy children. I cannot too often remind you,
YOU ARE BOTA IN THE SAME BOAT”--the Factory Children and the Aristocracy.
How strange, that those poor, worn-out Factory cripples, who are certainly the most deserving objects of charity (no, no, I will not thus desecrate her name)
- their claim to compensation is, their RIGHT ! But, Sir, how marvellous it is, that those cast-off wealth-producers should never have been thought of by any of the Christian philanthropists of our age ! In all the world, such claims on our benevolence cannot elsewhere be found. But they have been pushed out of the notice of the benevolent, by the self-same spirit which, after having victimized them, has, to hide its own guilt, kept them out of the misery-records of the League !
It shall be my business to urge on the kind-hearted, benevolent Christians of this land, to seek for these poor, wretched creatures, and to found an Asylum for their worn-out frames.
I know of uo institution which would redound so much to the honour of this nation~I know of none, on which the Saviour of those injured little ones would so surely shed His Blessing !
Many are asking, How can the people most appropriately honour the Infant Prince of Wales ? I answer—and who can gainsay ?-By founding a Royal Asylum for the poor Factory cripples ! - True, they have not been wounded in the outside battles of their country, but they have been wounded in the civil wars of Capital! Their strength has been wasted, their limbs have been torn, or crippled, or lost, in the strife of the Leaguers — the strife of money-getting. The Standard truly says of these child-tormentors,“ Their money is their country;" and Burke remarked of such like men, “ Their ledger is their Bible, their counting-house is their Church, and their money is their God.”
It is at the cost of these wretched cripples, that our so much boasted capital has been accumulated : it is but just that a portion of that capital should now find them a home.
Let, then, the nation do honour to itself and to its Royal Prince, aye, and to his Royal Mother, by founding and maintaining
" The PRINCE OF Wales's ASYLUM FOR FACTORY CRIPPLES;”
and let the Leaguers be first called upon to subscribe. This will at once test their loyalty and their sense of justice.
Were I at liberty, I think I could progress this work. From prison, I make the suggestion; and I call on you, and on all your“ order," to aid in the accomplishment of this good, national, Christian undertaking. The clergy cannot refuse to aid : the landlords ought not.
The following anecdote will be interesting. I was once visited by two Factory cripples. Joseph had been “done-up” at the age of sixteen, William was “ finished” at thirty-one! I was weary when they called. I jokingly told them," I wanted a little reposc, but I could safely sleep under their protection, they were my body-guard.” I observed that that expression, though meant quite friendlily, pierced to their hearts - they blushed, looked at their deformities, and then one of them said, “ We wish we were better able, 'King.'” They thought that I slept. I heard the following conversation.
I WILLIAM. Joseph, have you got over the shame of being crippled, when you mect any person ?
JOSEPH. No, William, I think I never shall.
WILLIAM. I wish I could. I know that it is very wrong, but I cannot help it-I sometimes think the shame is worse to bear than the pain. Many a time, when I am passing persons in the street, if I see their eyes glance at my legs, the blood flushes into my face, and I could wish myself under the flags. I know that it is very wrong. I pray to be delivered from it, but I fear I never shall.
JOSEPH. Why, you know, William, it is not our fault; we have done nothing wrong to cause our deformity, it is our masters should shame; but I am like yourself; I get out of the way as much as I can, when I see people look at me. But, if I see a gentleman with crooked legs, I am so pleased ! I know that it is wrong, but I cannot help it. He makes me think better of myself.
William. When I see people with fine limbs, how I envy them! But I don't see why we should feel so, for, as you say, we are not to blame.
I interrupted them by saying, “If England has any cause to be proud of her manufacturing system, you ought to be as prona of your wounds as the bravest warrior at Greenwich or Chelsea is of his ; without disparagement to them, you are as deserving of pensions as they." William then said, “ I shall never forget one day, when I was in company with strangers, who were conversing about me. They could not see my crooked legs, (they were under the table,) but they saw I had lost my arm. They took me for a soldier. For awhile I felt such pleasure ! I seemed to be quite another creature. But at length, unhappily, one of them asked me, 'What regiment I had served in? In what battle I had been wounded ?' I could not tell him a lie--all my brave, noble feelings vanished-how I blushed ! -I could have hid myself under the table! I wished myself anywhere else than there, when I was forced to say, 'I was wounded in the factory! they then knew that the supposed veteran was only a poor Factory-lad!" William concluded by saying to Joseph, “Well, what is passed cannot be helped ; we
“ must do all we can to assist the old King'in getting a Ten Hours' Factory Bill, and save others from our fate.”
Mr. Thornhill, I was much affected with that scene. None were present save the “King” and his two crippled “subjects.” Really, I was proud of them, and resolved to get them an Asylum if I could And now, Sir, permit nic to urge the friends of the poor everywhere to be up
and stirring to the help of Lord Ashley! His lordship has taken his stand : he has set a noble example : lie will, no doubt, early in next session, again attempt to obtain a Ten Honrs' Factories' Regulation Act. He will, of course, be met by the keenest opposition of the Leaguers. His lordship will require the aid of all true Christians. I, therefore, entreat all miuisters of religion to make it their business to forward petitions to Parliament, praying for a Ten Hours' Factory Law. Oh! that every bishop, priest, and deacon, would see to it, that he obtains one ! I know of nothing that would so much unite the poor to the priesthood. How I shall be rejoiced, if thus, at last, my labours should be crowned by the Church!
On the cover of this Fleeter are inserted two forms of petition, for the use of those in the factory districts, who might otherwise be at a loss for the proper words. I earnestly pray, that every clergyman who reads this letter may become a helper in this great and good work.
The landlords and agriculturists will do well to lend their aid. It is their interest as well as their duty.
I hope that Riddlesworth will set the example, and that from every nook and corner of the land petitions will now be forwarded to Parliament for my poor, innocent, and cruelly-oppressed clients.
Forgive my importunity—I feel most keenly on this subject. The spirits of Gould and SADLER, smiling, urge me onward. I cannot cease to plead, until their prayer, and mine is answered.
To the inhabitants of the factory villages and towns, I need say very little. They know and feel that their duty requires that they should be stirring now. I would, however, suggest that this time the West Riding of Yorks ire and South Lancashire should have a muster. Meetings in villages and towns are well and good, as far as they go ; but, to back Lord Ashley triumphantly, those large districts should have their provincial gatherings !
“ Ten Hours' Bill men,' everywhere, look to it; the “King” wills, a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether.” See, Victory waits to crown your efforts ! Cheer me, in my cell, with the realization of my hopes '-Ashley for ever-Ashley for ever-the Ten Hours' Bill, and no surrender !
Poor William Dodd ! You have not forgotten the touching account of his sufferings ? Poor fellow, how I rejoice that Heaven directed his steps to this cell, rather than to Kendal Union Work house, where, had he not come here, in all human probability he would now, as the reward of his