January 11th 1862 – The Charities of the Poor CHARITIES OF THE POOR. “BEG FROM A BEGGAR.” – Irish Proverb.
Title:The Charities of the Poor
Author:Richard Monckton Milnes, M.P.
Publication:The Bolton Chronicle
Date:January 11th 1862
This poem by the writer, reformer, and Liberal MP Richard Monckton Milnes begins with the epigraph, “Beg from a Beggar – Irish Proverb” It celebrates generosity in poverty - that those with little to give donate it freely, which has echoes of the New Testament ‘lesson of the widow’s mite’. There is a suggestion that wealth erodes this impulse, that the poor should celebrate their satisfaction in industry rather than possession and not wish for wealth which might lessen this charitable feeling. The Cotton Famine created narratives which helped to sustain social cohesion, and several of these related to the benevolence of the working classes through community projects and examples of individual generosity. – SR