Sunday, 6 May 2012

6th May 1812: 'General subscription for the relief of the poor' meeting in Leeds

The Leeds Mercury of 9th May 1812 reported that a meeting had been held in the Rotation Office at Leeds on Wednesday 6th May to bring about a 'general subscription for the relief of the poor'. If one reads virtually any regional newspaper at this time, one will find similar initiatives taking place in places large and small across England.

In effect, what many of the meetings did was to institute official autoreduction: the report of the Leeds meeting stated that the aim was to 'sell soup, rice, and dried and salt fish, at reduced prices'. The intentions for the bourgeoisie were twofold: to mitigate against further food rioting and ease their consciences, and combined with the military repression taking place, would go someway in the coming weeks to have an impact it is hard to underestimate.

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