New Hartley.

Peace to the dead!
The spirits fled –
Deep was their dying bed; -
Down in the narrow seam
They passed like a dream
Away from all life’s stream.
No parting tear,
No voice to cheer,
From those they held most dear,
Calmly they met their doom
In the [illegible word] gloom,,
Lock’d in a living tomb.
All human skill,
With ready will, -
To save from coming ill, -
Put forth: alas! in vain
Each nerve they nobly strain
The fatal seam to gain.
Sad to relate,
Distressing fate;
Three hamlets desolate!
Death wav’d his icy hand
Over the toiling band,
None could his power withstand.
Then let there be
Kind sympathy;
In deeds of charity
A present aid depart;
Bind up the broken heart,
Play well this noble part.
Lord, deign to hear
A nation’s prayer: -
“Take to Thy tender care;
Widow and fatherless,
Pity; in mercy bless,
In their severe distress!”

Title:New Hartley.

Author:James Taylor

Publication:Manchester Courier

Published in:Manchester

Date:February 1st 1862

Keywords:charity, industry


This poem concerns not the cotton industry but the mining industry, and refers to the Hartley Colliery Disaster in Cumberland of January 16th 1862. However, its final stanzas illustrate the way that newspaper poems were used to appeal for aid, and indeed, charity, in times of local distress. Within a few months, as the effects of the Cotton Famine began to take hold, aid was being organised on a vast scale and calls for charity became national and international. The ‘New Hartley’ of the title refers to early efforts to rebuild the community shattered by the disaster. – SR