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Saturday 07 Dec 1816 - Employment of the Labouring Classes
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* January 31, 2023, 12:51:17 PM
 Saturday 07 Dec 1816   (p. 2, col. 6 – p. 3, col 2)
Employment of the Labouring Classes.

On Monday evening last, a most respectable Meeting of Gentlemen, (convened by the Mayor) took place at the Coffee House, in this City, for the purpose of taking into consideration the best means of finding employment for those labouring men belonging to the city and suburbs who necessarily suffer in consequence of a want of work—George BLAMIRE, Esq. the Mayor in the Chair. His Worship opened the business by stating the object of the meeting, and he hoped the gentlemen present would favour the company with their opinions, or with any resolutions they might think calculated to advance the good work of charity.
The Clerk of the Peace was of opinion that any assistance which might be rendered would be better given in the way of employment than by eleemosynary aid; for in most cases the least deserving were loudest in their complaints, and the most forward to engross what in strict justice should fall to the share of others, less importunate, but in reality more in want. Employment would be the proper test; those only who were willing to work should receive relief.
Major MOUNSEY was of opinion that there was a class of sufferers who should come under the bounty of a public subscription who could not labour at all; he meant the aged, sick, and infirm; and he thought it advisable to lay in a store of potatoes, coals, &c. and sell them out at reduced prices when such articles were dear;—say, 3d. per hoop for potatoes, and 3d. per peck for coals. By this means much good might be done which could not be otherwise effected.
Mr. William HALTON wished to learn, if a subscription were raised, what was the object in view? He wished to know if it was intended to apply relief to the manufacturing classes? Because if that were the case, he could only say that no sum which could possibly be raised by a subscription of this kind would afford effectual relief. This he knew to be the opinion of the manufacturers generally. The weavers, it was true, earned low wages, but then if they pursued their work diligently, and observed a strict economy, they might be enabled to maintain themselves and families, for there was no want of work. If it were designed to go from house to house and give this and that family a sum of money in addition to their wages, no extensive good would be effected. The Manufacturers had already done something of this sort, and they found the largest sum that could be raised amongst them very soon exhausted. All that could be done, in his opinion, was to find work for those, at low wages, who had nothing to do.
Dr. HEYSHAM was inclined to support the plan of Major MOUNSEY, in affording some relief to the aged, sick, and infirm, while at the same time labour was found for those who wanted it. He had been assured by those who knew the matter well, that there was no want of work among the weavers, but he was apprehensive the present wages were in many cases insufficient to maintain those who had large families; and as to the spinners, it was well known that they not only had plenty of employment, but very sufficient wages. Still there were many with large families in great distress, to whom it would be desirable to render assistance.—He concluded by moving the Resolutions, which will be found in another column.
Mr. John DIXON said that the weavers might have plenty of work if they were good workmen and inclined to do it. By perseverance, they might support themselves, and their condition was very different from that of the poor labourers who, tho' willing, could find no employment.
The Clerk of the Peace said that the Corporation had that day come to a determination to commence the improvements behind the East and West Walls immediately, which they intended to do independently of this meeting. He thought that part of the subscription might be advantageously employed in filling up the old branch of the Eden, which would be a desirable object, and which would add much to the utility of the cattle markets. He observed that the bank near the cattle markets was become a promenade and it was desirable to render it as pleasant as possible. The filling up of this old branch of the river, if not done by the public subscription, could only be effected by rubbish which individuals might think proper to deposit there from time to time.
Dr. Hugh JAMES wished to know what number of persons it was probable would find employment on the works contemplated by the Corporation? In his opinion the public subscription was totally distinct from any plans that might be in the view of that body.
The Clerk of the Peace said it was impossible at that time to tell what number of hands the Corporation could employ.
Dr. BLAMIRE said the Corporation as a body did not wish to identify their objects with those of the present meeting. They would employ and pay their own labourers. But it was desirable to find as much employment as possible for persons in want of work.
Mr. John STUDHOLME observed that when frosty weather came on, labourers would be prevented from working at several kinds of employment. He would suggest as a plan both desirable and profitable, that when the frost set in, labourers be employed in wheeling gravel from the immense bed formed at the confluence of the Caldew and Eden, across the latter river by means of a stage and deposit it in a field near Stanwix Bank, from whence it could be sold to the commissioners for the repair of the neighbouring roads, as it was wanted, at about 6d. per cart load, and the cost of wheeling it on the spot for sale would not, perhaps, amount to 3d. This would not only occasion labour for those who wanted it, but in due time would produce ample profit,—a source of still further employment.
This proposition was well received by the whole meeting. Mr. HODGSON enquired at what cost might the stage be erected? Mr. STUDHOLME replied, that if the planks, &c. lately used in the works belonging to the county could be borrowed for the purpose, he thought it might be constructed for a very small sum.

[to be continued]

Reproduced with kind permission of British Newspaper Archives


* February 01, 2023, 01:26:59 PM
Mr. James FORSTER thought it would be desirable to make foot paths in the vicinity of the city. Most cities and towns were provided with these conveniences, and every one would be ready to own how useful they would be to Carlisle.
Mr. Richard SUTTON thought the present to be a fit opportunity for the construction of a proper foot path on the Castle Bank, under the Castle Walls.—It was observed, in reply to this, that the ground was private property, and that there might be some difficulty on that account.
Mr. R. MOUNSEY concurred most heartily in the opinion that the subscription, whatever it might be, ought to be laid out only in procuring employment for those who were willing to work. It would be in vain to endeavour to relieve all the poor; that would be merely giving the money raised to the different parishes, and the largest sum that could possibly be collected would soon disappear.
Captain HALTON wished it to be distinctly stated that the fund now raised, and hereafter to be raised, was for the purpose of employing the labouring classes only, otherwise reports might soon go abroad to the public of a different nature, and perhaps raise expectations which would only be disappointed.
It was the general opinion that the fund should be so appropriated. After a desultory conversation. the Resolutions were passed, and a Committee named (see advertisement), who were vested with discretionary power to inspect the different parts of the city and suburbs and fix on such plans as they shall think proper, to be communicated to a general meeting at some short time hence. It was also arranged that subscriptions be collected from house to house, as it is hoped that in a work of this nature, every one capable, will be willing to give something. The gentlemen present subscribed their names to very liberal sums, and the business concluded.
On Thursday the Committee appointed on Monday evening, held a meeting in the Town Hall, when they appointed another meeting to take place there on Monday next (see advt.) for the purpose of receiving 'applications from the poor Labourers who have been resident here six months;' and Mr. Thomas ATKINSON, Mr. Paul NIXON, and Mr. J. STUDHOLME, were vested with powers to procure working implements, and to provide materials for the erection of a stage across the Eden on which to convey the gravel. The Committee also divided the Town and neighbourhood into districts, in which they will make a general collection from house to house in the course of the ensuing week; they commenced yesterday. The sums which appear in the advertisement were subscribed at the meeting on Monday evening.

This meeting has proved, if any proof were wanting, that the distressed have numerous friends in Carlisle; it was actuated only by the good spirit of charity. All were agreed as to the existence of distress, but two or three gentlemen were of opinion that relief should be extended to the helpless poor. The majority admitted that the object was desirable, but were of opinion that it was unattainable; for if there was not a well-defined plan it would be difficult to know where to stop; no subscription, in times like the present, when most people are suffering, could be effectual; within certain limits much good might be done; without limits, little, or perhaps, none.—Nothing tends more to cherish a spirit of laudable independence in the lower orders than the practice of aiding them by means of their own personal exertions. And at the present moment, every thing possible should be done to keep up such a spirit in the minds of the poor. Instead of recommending them to apply to the parish, endeavour  to keep them from it. Give labour then to those who will work—punish those who are able and will not, or rather they will punish themselves—and endeavour to alleviate the miseries of those who cannot.
Carlisle, we think, has suffered less from the pressure of the times, than any similar sized town in the kingdom, and perhaps possesses within its limits fewer unemployed persons who are inclined to labour. The plans now about to be adopted will be sufficient to afford these employment at wages on which they can subsist tolerably well if they are prudent and economical. As stated above, employment will be given to those only who have been resident in the city or suburbs six months. This is very important to be well understood, otherwise persons may be drawn hither from a distance, who would lose their labour.
The labouring poor of Carlisle will see and appreciate the difference between this meeting and many others where the relief of the indigent was merely made the scape-goat of a violent political party. At such assemblies the sufferings of the labouring poor were only brought into discussion to inflame their minds and excite them to outrage, which in all cases ever has been and ever will be accompanied with personal punishment, or still severer suffering. The leaders at such meetings never had the most distant intention of affording relief; they came forward with charity in their mouths; but their hearts were full of uncharitableness. "No man," says a brother journalist, "in public or private, need be ashamed or afraid to advocate the cause of a warm-hearted practical charity, against that of a cold, sophistical, and declamatory vanity. Every would-be statesman has his impracticable and inconsistent nostrum for curing all diseases of the body politic with a touch. Annual Parliaments!—universal suffrage! No two of these plans agree; and yet their heartless authors go on disputing about them with the most unfeeling pertinacity, while their poor neighbours are starving before their eyes. How insulting is this conduct to the unhappy sufferers! Nay, it is worse. It stops the current of charity: it actually prevents subscriptions and thereby robs the poor of their right; for what right can be clearer than that of the distressed man to the relief which his friends are ready to give? and which is the real friend to the poor, the man who treats them with an hour's unmeaning rhapsody, or he who subscribes according to his means, five, ten, or fifty pounds, to their relief?"—There can be no hesitation in answering this question.—We shall conclude this article, grown much longer than we at first intended, with recommending every one who has the means, to come forward on this occasion. The smallest sums will be useful—even the widow's mite. The hint thrown out at the Mansion-House meeting in London, of recommending domestic servants to subscribe, might be acted on in Carlisle, where there are numerous servants, particularly females, in good circumstances. We are sure the call upon them, by every master of a family, would not be in vain.
Reproduced with kind permission of British Newspaper Archives