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Social issues

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The following items reveal that Matthew continued to be a social campaigner for a wide range of different issues during the 1850’s and 60’s.

 
Matthew (1854-05-09): “The People’s Roads”. Dundee, Perth, and Cupar Advertiser, 9 May 1854
Matthew campaigns for proper footpaths alongside the district roads in the local area, and takes local landlords to task for their heartless attitude on this issue.

 
“Reform Meeting in Dundee”. Dundee Courier, 23 February 1859, p.3 col.2-4 (pdf image)
A report of a local meeting to discuss the issue of Parliamentary Reform (there was a Reform Bill being debated in Parliament on redistributing constituency boundaries to make them more equitable in population size, but in fact it was not until 1867 that the next Reform Bill was passed in parliament). The report lists Matthew as one of the people “on the platform”, showing that Matthew’s desire for voting reform had not died when he left the Chartists in 1839.

 
Matthew (1860-01-06): “The Oil-Money Cases”. Dundee, Perth, and Cupar Advertiser, 6 January 1860
Matthew argues for fair remuneration for the crews of whaling ships.

 
Matthew (1861-10-29): “Our Parochial Teaching”. Dundee Advertiser, 29 October 1861
Matthew argues for an element of competition to be introduced into the selection of teachers for local parish schools, to improve standards of education.

 
Matthew (1861-11-25): “To the Citizens of Dundee”. Dundee Advertiser, 25 November 1861
Matthew advocates the setting up of a powerful Right-of-Way Association to protect existing public rights-of-way on footpaths.

 
“Right of Way Association. First Annual Meeting”. Dundee Advertiser, 27 November 1861, p.4 col.1-3 (pdf image)
A lengthy report of the first annual meeting of the Dundee &c. Right-of-Way Association, which was the motivation for Matthew’s earlier letter (Matthew 1861-11-25). The piece was also printed in the Friday edition (Dundee Advertiser, Friday 29 November 1861, p.2 col.5-7). The piece ends with due recognition for Matthew’s efforts:

Mr John Hunter proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Matthew for the interest he had taken in the Association, and for having appeared there that evening. (Applause.)
Mr Matthew thanked the meeting, and suggested that an association be formed of some eight or ten individuals, who might go to the different public walks on a certain day in each year, to show they had a right to them. (Applause.) He thought, also, it would be well that this party should have a pair of bagpipes with them. (Laughter.)
Mr Hunter — And the Rifle Corps might go along with them. (Renewed laughter.)
Mr Matthew further proposed three cheers for the donors of the Eastern Park. (Loud applause.)
The meeting then separated.

 
Matthew (1862-02-11): “Coal Mine Accidents”. Fife Herald, 11 February 1862
Matthew explains how coal mine accidents can be averted, and attacks the cold-heartedness of mine owners in not implementing them just in order to save a little money.

 
Matthew (1866-04-19): “Proper Sites for Public Buildings”. Dundee Courier, 19 April 1866
Matthew opposes current plans for the building site of the new Albert Institute in Dundee, and proposes alternatives.

 
Matthew (1870-01-21): Dundee Advertiser, 21 January 1870
This letter is grouped under the “Tay Bridge proposal” section, because at the end Matthew suggests that money saved in building the Tay bridge at his preferred site of Newburgh should be used to improve the housing conditions of Dundee’s wretched poor. However, most of this letter is a polemic against Dundee’s unsanitary slums.

 
“Landlord Representation and the Culture of the Soil”. Dundee Advertiser, 7 December 1872
Wulf Gerdts refers to this article in his unpublished family history (“The Matthew Saga”). Unfortunately, the year 1872 for the Dundee Advertiser is missing from the British Newspaper Archive, so I have been unable to obtain the text. However, the theme of the British landlord system and its detrimental effect on soil and agronomy is one that occupies many of Matthew’s contributions to Agricultural Journals (see Ag Journal Articles: Table of Contents).

 
“Utilization of Lairds and Peat Bogs”. Dundee Advertiser, 15 April 1873
Wulf Gerdts refers to this article in his unpublished family history (“The Matthew Saga”). Unfortunately, the year 1873 for the Dundee Advertiser is missing from the British Newspaper Archive, so I have been unable to obtain the text. According to Gerdts, the letter is addressed to the “Tenant Farmers of Angus and Strathmore”, and contains practical advice on peat extraction. This is the last known letter or article ever written by Matthew.

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