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TheBotanical

Samuel Roberts

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I am currently in the middle of my dissertation on the 'Pauper's advocate' Samuel Roberts. I know that he was nicknamed 'the would--be drill sergeant of Park Grange', finding it in J. Knott's Popular Opposition to the 1834 Poor Law.

The problem is Knott gives no reference to where this quote comes from. I am wondering if anyone can help me find it. I am thinking that it may have come from a quote in one of the newspapers. I am down at the archives next week looking at other primary evidence on him and would greatly appreciate a nod in the right direction. Many thanks.

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I am currently in the middle of my dissertation on the 'Pauper's advocate' Samuel Roberts. I know that he was nicknamed 'the would--be drill sergeant of Park Grange', finding it in J. Knott's Popular Opposition to the 1834 Poor Law.

The problem is Knott gives no reference to where this quote comes from. I am wondering if anyone can help me find it. I am thinking that it may have come from a quote in one of the newspapers. I am down at the archives next week looking at other primary evidence on him and would greatly appreciate a nod in the right direction. Many thanks.

Note sure if this is what you're after, but it looks promising. I don't understand a word of it. See the last sentence or so for the quote.

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Aye, no idea what any of this means, nice find, look forward to whatever it might mean.

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It does look promising! I'll provide a bit of background context here but I'm sure you already know most (if not all) of what I post. Roberts was an Overseer of the Old Poor Law from 1804 until the Poor Law Amendment Act was rolled in. He criticised it heavily writing pamphlet after pamphlet attacking anyone connected to the New Poor Law from Chadwick to one of the Overseers and his family, namely the Overseer's father who Roberts labelled him as being 'a chip off the old block'.

Roberts had commanded improvements towards the Old Work House at West Bar and his work in his early days earned him the title 'paupers advocate'. When criticising the New Poor Law Roberts would go from one paragraph slagging somebody off and in the next quoting scripture page after page. Like Oastler he used lots of biblical language. The workers wanted to support Chartism but Roberts did not agree with this. He was all on for helping the poor but God forbid they should be given the vote! Anyway he was labelled as the most prolific pamphleteer but also the most incoherent one. This is the main quest of my dissertation, to see if that statement was true by examining his work and also comparing him to Oastler and Cobbett. It pretty much sounds like the workers were getting quite sick of Roberts bossing them around and this was their way of telling him to go forth and multiply!

Anyway, I hope I have not been as incoherent as Roberts. A big thank you from myself and if you find anything else out that would be great! I'll see if I can find out who Mr Lomas was.

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Nice find History dude. Once again thank you all.

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This could be him ...

Professions:
Hosiers & Glovers -
William Lomas, 70 Westbar green.

White's 1837

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Cheers SteveHB. Lomas is ringing alarm bells for another reason that I cannot think of. I'll check around some of my other material but so far all that has been posted has been valuable. Many thanks to all.

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Not much fun either.

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The Wicked are turned into Hell.

Source (think this has been put on here before, a reminder won't do any harm).

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Cheers RichardB. Yep, he doesn't make easy reading does he? I think my conclusion that he was incoherent may be easier to prove than I originally thought!

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Gentlemen of a certain standing, did I believe like to wax lyrical on all sorts of subjects. Note the large numbers of letters written by <Insert Made up name here>. I suspect he had an enormous amount of spare time on his hands and really liked peddling his ideas to others. Some of it well-intentioned, some just piles and piles of words.

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1817 The State Lottery

though this does also seem to mention 1917, which I assume is a printing error.

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Patent, 1824.

Did he write this, I wonder, or is it general purpose bilge that was copied from person to person with the details changed to suit ?

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Reference to a couple of documents.

I could probably get through half a dozen pages of Chartism, before dozing off into a coma ...

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I covered Chartism last year. When it went down the path of teetotal Chartism I lost interest pretty quickly.

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Found more here; Sheffield Independent, May, 1837.

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I have yet to find the original paper from Mr Roberts that Mr Lomas is referring to. Would I be best heading down to the library and looking through the pamphlets of Roberts? If anybody can find it online that would be a tremendous help!

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I had thought that the meeting to Roberts was referring to was the meeting at the Town Hall, yet, as I have just realised, the meeting in Mr Lomas' letter talks about a meeting at the Music Hall. Stumped.

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Finally from my dissertation this year;

On 3rd May 1837 a protest meeting was held in Paradise Square ‘crowded with people opposing the [Poor Law Amendment] Act.’[1] The editor of the Sheffield Iris received a letter, on 12th September stating, ‘During the last week there have been two instances of starvation to death so declared by a coroner’s jury which have not been brought to public attention.’[2] It asked, ‘How many more cases are there? No one can tell and very few care.’[3] The letter was signed S. R. Samuel Rogers would later be elected master of the Sheffield Workhouse but this was not until June 1844, (Rogers had previously been connected with the Chard Union workhouse and the ‘master at Redruth in Cornwall’ before that.)[4] A Samuel Richardson had also opposed the New Poor Law but regarding the condemning tone of Roberts’s letters, one may arrive to the conclusion that it was he who sent the letter to the editor of the Sheffield Iris. Sheffield Guardians were finally elected 30th June 1837 after a letter from the Poor Law Commissioners stated that any failure to appoint Guardians would be met with fines and that ‘no amount of relief could ‘be sanctioned and will therefore be considered illegal.’’[5]

By the end of July Roberts had posted ‘an inflammatory paper’ condemning a meeting that had taken place 24th July at the Music Hall.[6] The meeting was a discussion of ‘the merits or demerits’ of the New Poor Law.[7] William Lomas had been present at the meeting and wrote in the Sheffield Independent Roberts had ‘heaped a tirade of abuse’ onto him and others who had attended.[8] New evidence, in the form of a bill, enlightens us that Roberts had planned to attend the meeting, stating he felt ‘impelled by a regard to the glory of God and the welfare of the poor.’[9] On finding the planned meeting had been changed to a different time Roberts proclaimed that there was ‘treachery in the camp’ and accuses Lomas and others of having ‘treacherously bought and sold the poor.’[10] On his response to missing the meeting Roberts announced he was thankful as ‘I was permitted to join and enjoy the happiness of ninety poor lads… at my own home.’[11] He concluded by stating ‘I wish that Lord Fitzwilliam… Earl Spencer, Lord John Russell, and Lord John Parker could have seen and heard them. They would surely then have ceased to delight in oppressing the poor!’[12]

Lomas’ reaction was equally scathing. Responding in the Sheffield Independent, Lomas states that ‘the paper to which I have referred, is full of falsehood and basic insinuation, intending to rob us of our character, and hold us up to odium before our townsmen.’[13] Roberts had been too controlling for the workmen whose very reputation was that of a radical nature. In his response, Lomas asks Roberts; ‘Is this the way you treat men who do their utmost to effect an object, which you pretend to be so dear to your heart? Is it because we will not be driven backward and forward by the would-be drill-serjeant [sic] of Park Grange?’[14] He concludes, recommending Roberts, ‘to study that divine maxim,- “do unto others as ye would do they should do unto you”.’[15] The workers broke with Roberts having grown tired of his ‘domineering style’.[16]


[1] Drinkall, op.cit., p.35-36.

[2] Ibid., p.35.

[3] Ibid., p.35-36.

[4] Ibid., p.88.

[5] Ibid., p.47.

[6] The Sheffield Independent, and Yorkshire, and Derbyshire Advertiser (Sheffield, England), Saturday, July 29, 1837; pg. [4]; Issue 842. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] S. Roberts, ‘To the Inhabitants of Sheffield: Questions to Messrs. Parker and Ward’, 1837 (Sheffield Local Studies Library: (MP20 L)).

[10] The Sheffield Independent, and Yorkshire, and Derbyshire Advertiser (Sheffield, England), Saturday, July 29, 1837; pg. [4]; Issue 842. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II.

[11] S. Roberts, ‘To the Inhabitants of Sheffield: Questions to Messrs. Parker and Ward’, 1837 (Sheffield Local Studies Library: (MP20 L)).

[12] Ibid.

[13] The Sheffield Independent, and Yorkshire, and Derbyshire Advertiser (Sheffield, England), Saturday, July 29, 1837; pg. [4]; Issue 842. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II..

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Knott, op.cit., p.98.

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