Archive reference: MH12/14674.
Date of Letter: 6 May 1850
Poor Law Union: Sheffield Poor Law Union
Sheffield 1850 May 6th
My Lords and Gentlemen I duly received yours of 23rd ult in reply to mine of the 18th ult. Poor Mrs Mitchell came to me and I am forced to see that “hope deferred maketh the heart sick”. She wept bitterly this morning, and said she feared her brother will not live many days and then, said she “he will be out of their way, they will have finished him”. She heard a few days ago that he was very ill: unattended except by his poor neighbours who were in his house expecting his death. – She has 2 of his children as I before informed you, and she still [prides/provides] herself and them and struggles, but it is very hard.
You may not be aware that [I] hate the centralizing tendency with a most perfect hatred. I do not believe in [Malthus] nor do I wish to see the poor people starved to death by law. This case is not likely to lessen my hatred. If I could see anything like moral responsibility on the part of the central authorities, I should be inclined to view centralization with more favour. But there is nothing of the kind. Stump orators make perfect laws, and legal response is all that is ever thought of. For instance, you have acted legally I suppose in this case. Lorimer would no doubt say the same, Ditto the Board of Guardians at Barnsley. My first letter to Lorimer was on the 18th Jany. my first letter to you was on the 1st of March, the poor wretch starving all the time – more than 16 weeks.
You breakfast every morning and transact your business with the perfect consciousness that you will also dine in due course. Not so the poor who have not sufficient interest to get an appeal to you. Those who have discover what a task they undertake. Carlisle is not far wrong in his description of what has to be done in Downing St.
Good heavens how I shudder at the cold hearted official red tapism which governs (?) this country.
Yours faithfully Isaac Ironside