"Yeadon Meal Dole To The Editor Of The
Sir, I hope
you will permit me through the medium of your columns to inquire of those
gentlemen, parties, contributors and others, connected with subscriptions for
the relief of the "unemployed poor" of Yeadon" why the supplies
have stopped ?
I hear that
some have withdrawn their money from that "fund" and that others of
the same stamp will subscribe no more.
Does the charity of these parties grow
colder as the necessity for more active benevolence increases?
growing remiss in their duties at the frightful increase in the numbers of
famishing and destitute?
Or is there some secret cause in existence for their
apathetic and mysterious conduct?
I have heard
rumours and insinuations that are calculated to raise doubts and apprehensions
in the minds of many regarding the sincerity of their professions.
It may very
well for them to owl loudly for "cheap cake" in perspective : but it
will never compensate for gross violations of the duties of citizenship.
must they imagine that the working men of Yeadon will become the slaves and
tools of a faction merely because their masters are "uncompromising" advocates of the
free trade delusion.
vaunted long of their proud position as "Reformers" and boasted much of their love of "justice and fair
play"; let them show their love of fair play.
In the name of
"Justice" then let them come manfully forward and justify their
present conduct - let them show to the world their extenuating reasons for
withholding the weekly pittance of oatmeal to their starving brethren, that the
public mat approve or condemn their acts.
If they do
not do this, it by their silence they suffer this blot on their escutcheon of
their patriotism to remain, why then I suppose we may set down their
pretensions to "liberalism" on the same level as their pretensions of
a more solemn kind.
I am yours
& c A PERIPATETIC "
Image courtesy of the British Newspaper Archives, research by Edwy Harling
Further text by Christine Lovedale
Free Trade agreements began in the 1840s allowing goods
to be imported into Britain with lower tariffs or import duties, to balance the
drop in Government revenue Prime Minister Robert Peel introduced income tax in
1842, creating a financial burden for the working classes.
Higher duty was
payable on tobacco, tea, spirits and wine, leading to a great upsurge in
smuggling these commodities into the country.
Oatmeal was a
staple part of the diet, Philomen Slater in his book History of the Ancient
Parish of Guiseley remarked that "The children, with eating so much food
made of oatmeal were more subject to scorbutic (scurvy) diseases than if they
had used more wheat bread".