Friday, 20 May 2016

20th May 1816: Distressed Stockport weavers appeal to the magistrate Rev Charles Prescot

To the Revd Charles Prescot

Revnd Sir

Actuated by the sentiments of Gratitude for the generous concern you have ever manifested towards the Interest of the laboring Class of this Town and neighbourhood, we venture on the behalf and at the urgent request of the weavers of Stockport to lay a list of the present Prices of a few Reeds now given by the Manufacturers, in order that Your worship may be a competent Judge of their deplorable State and improbability to pay the common demands of Rents, Ley or Taxes

List of the present Prices           List of the prices 1814 for the same fabric

100 Reed 6/4 Cambric 24 Yds – 10 [shillings]                   1.8.0
100 Reed 9/8 Gingham  – 8 [shillings]                   .19.0
90 Reed 9/8 Gingham          – 5 [shillings]           .16.0
72 Reed 4/4 Gingham          – 3 [shillings]           .12.0
72 Reed 4/4 Gingham          – 3 [shillings]           .12.0
60 Reed 6/4 [illegible]          – 7 [shillings] 6 [pence]   .16.0

Your wordship will here observe a tremendous reduction in the earnings of the industrious weaver. What may be the Cause of such Reduction is to the working body of the trade altogether insolvable. But at the same time it is conceived not to be impracticable but something might be done to ameliorate their distress, thro’ the medium and interference of the Magistrates of the manufacturing districts, praying that his Majesty's ministers would be pleased to put a Stop to the Exportation of Cotton Yarn and fix a Minimum for the price of labor. This is the only Suggestion we can lay down to relieve us upon a permanent Basis and as the Magistrate and principal Inhabitants of Bolton desire that this should be put in practice, we humbly humbly implore that your worship will take the same into your serious Consideration at this Period when Provisions are on the advance.

Now to shew you what the weavers can earn the 100 Reed 6/4 Cambric is considered to be a sufficient quantity of labour for 8 days. Then the Journeyman has 3d to pay out of every shilling he earns for winding, Loom-Room &c which will reduce his earnings to Eleven-pence farthing per day—This will be but a small Sum for a Man that has a family of 3 or 4 Children to subsist on - therefore necessity will compel him to seek for parochial relief which will fall very heavy on the Land-Owners and principal Inhabitants.

Convinced of the practicality with which you have attended to their former applications they have to beg you to accept their grateful thanks for past favors with the Assuance of their highest Esteem

We remain your worship’s most
obedient & humble Servants
Joseph Sherwin
Simon Lilley

Signed on behalf of
the Cotton-Weavers
of Stockport May
20th 1816.—

This letter can be found at HO 42/150.

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