Aireborough Historical Society

1846 Relief Dole Yeadon

Relief Dole
Date April 1846
Location Yeadon
Photo ID

 "Yeadon Meal Dole To The Editor Of The Intelligenser

      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     I hear that some have withdrawn their money from that "fund" and that others of the same stamp will subscribe no more.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?

Are they 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.

Nor 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.

       They have 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".


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