Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Connections ...

... with the past and with the previous post.

Above, The Dinner Hour, by Eyre Crowe, 1874. 

The connection between the previous post and of the painting above, which depicts a lunch hour at a Lancashire cotton mill, is that the company we know as Lee Jofa began in 1888 as Arthur H. Lee Textiles in the cotton mills of Lancashire (not, I think, the one depicted), before eventually merging with Johnson and Faulkner, later shortened to JOFA, established in New York City in 1823. 

(Dinner, by the way, is still how lunchtime is styled in that locality. What we in America know as dinner is there called tea. The order of meals, thus, is breakfast, dinner, tea.)

A further connection with American history is that the scene takes place after the Lancashire Cotton Famine of 1861 to 1865. Prosperity has been restored after what was a severe depression in North West England because of a cessation of baled cotton imports caused by the American Civil war. The Union blockade of Confederate ports caused the cotton workers of Lancashire to lose work and they began to starve. Despite their deprivations the cotton workers meeting in 1862 resolved to support the Union in its fight against slavery. 

The following year Abraham Lincoln sent an address thanking the cotton workers for their support.

" ... I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the working people of Manchester and in all Europe are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this Government which was built on the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of slavery, was unlikely to obtain the favor of Europe.

Through the action of disloyal citizens, the working people of Europe have been subjected to a severe trial for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under the circumstances I cannot but regard your decisive utterances on the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is indeed an energetic and re-inspiring assurance of the inherent truth and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity and freedom. 

I hail this interchange of sentiments, therefore, as an augury that, whatever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my own, the peach and friendship that now exists between the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual."

How did Socialism get a such a bad name? 


  1. I love this post! I'm just about to start reading Elizabeth Gaskell's "Ruth", which takes place in a Lancashire textile town. I can't wait to read the rest of your's so nice to find a kindred soul in the blog world! xx

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