[ The Lancashire Cotton Famine, 1861-1865. ] Autograph Letter from 'John Whittaker | "A Lancashire Lad."' to J. B. Langley

John Whittaker of Wigan, journalist [ pseudonym 'A Lancashire Lad' ] [ The Lancashire Cotton Famine, 1861-1865; Wigan Standard newspaper ]
Publication details: 
'"Standard" Office | Wigan | May 27th. 1862.'
SKU: 20098

For the background to this letter see William Otto Henderson, 'The Lancashire Cotton Famine 1861-65' (1934) and Angela V. John, 'By the Sweat of their Brow' (2013). Between 14 April and 16 October 1862 Whittaker published a dozen letters on the 'Lancashire Distress' in the London Times, under the pseudonym of 'A Lancashire Lad'. Edwin Waugh, in his 'Home Life of the Lancashire Factory Folk During the Cotton Famine' (1867), describes Whittaker as 'one of the first writers whose appeals through the press drew serious attention to the great distress in Lancashire during the Cotton Famine. There is no doubt that his letters in The Times, and to the Lord Mayor of London, led to the Mansion House Fund. In The Times of April 14, 1862, appeared the first of a series of letters, pleading the cause of the distressed operatives.' The letter is 2pp., 12mo. Bifolium on grey paper. In fair condition, aged and worn. Whittaker begins by apologising to Langley for sending only part of the note intended for him, but as Langley has 'gathered the sense of what the whole note contained', he will not trouble him 'with the same thing again'. Regarding his seventh 'Lancashire Lad' letter he writes: 'In today's Times I try to correct the statement made by the chairman of your Board of Guardians last week. It is a great pity that he should have made that statement, especially as about the very time that he was making it I was consulting with others as to the 400£ distributed to Preston and other towns. He ought to have seen that it is injurious to make any statement which may lead to cavilling, and the more so in a case like this, where the thousands of out-of-work-operatives are becoming more and more dependent upon what is being contributed for their relief. He concludes by suggesting that 'all ought to combine in helping, and that each ought to be specially careful not to say or do anything which might lead to lessening the help afforded to our poor'. Whittaker's later activities are clouded in obscurity. In 1869 the 'Bookseller' reported that 'Mr. John Whittaker, whose letters in " The Times," under the signature of " A Lancashire Lad," led to the formation of the Mansion-House Relief Fund has, we are informed, left the staff of The Daily Telegraph, upon which paper he has been engaged during the last few years, and joined that of The Echo, the new half-penny daily paper.'