George Poulett Scrope, a geologist and political economist, wrote this pamphlet in 1832 - the year the Great Reform Act was passed in Parliament. Scrope was an agitator for reform and vocal critic of the poor laws. He published widely on Britain’s economic problems and the state of its social welfare.
Here, Scrope exposes the ‘distress’ and ‘great and general discontent’ among the public. This distress has arisen, Scrope argues, from industrialisation, the replacement of human labour by machinery, and a lack of political representation. On page 22, he further highlights the fact that so many were pushed into poverty due to the extortionately high price of corn (‘corn’ in this context included any grain, especially wheat). He squarely blames the government for ‘continued neglect…of the national distress, and their insulting denial of its existence’.