The following lines have been lately published in an Oldham paper. They were written by Mr. J. O’Neil, now of this town, in 1847, when great distress prevailed, and given by him at that time to an old and valued friend, who thinking they were applicable to the present times, has had them published.
Title:'Men! Christians! Britons!'
This poem by a Mr J. O’Neill of Oldham was written in the ‘Hungry Forties’, when a severe economic downturn had combined with the Europe-wide potato blight and Britain’s punitive Corn Laws to create widespread poverty and hunger for millions of Britons (and even more tragically the Great Hunger in Ireland). The title concisely appeals in gender, religious, and patriotic terms and it is striking and poignant that the poem’s call for charity republished nearly twenty years later should be so relevant again during the Cotton Famine. – SR