Relief for Lancashire.
Title:Relief for Lancashire
Date:November 22nd, 1862
This poem, written at the height of the Cotton Famine, makes an impassioned appeal for charity. The respectability of unemployed cotton workers is emphasised in the first two stanzas, which highlight the independence and honourable labour of the working classes in ordinary circumstances as a means of stressing the desperation implied by seeking relief. Stoic individuals “Inured to toil and pain/ Who never sought for help before” are driven at last to appeal for charity by the degradation of their “hovels, once dear homes”. The poem then turns to those who might be able to provide much-needed relief, appealing to them in religious terms to provide charity as a matter of urgency.
The poet signs off with the single initial, “H.”, which makes it difficult to trace their biography or determine much about their background, though the poem itself does seem to have been written in Accrington. – RM.