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Prince, John Critchleylocked

(1808–1866)

Extract

Prince, John Critchley(1808–1866), poet, born at Wigan, Lancashire, on 21 June 1808, was the son of a reed-maker for weavers, a man of drunken habits, careless of his family, and ever immersed in poverty. Young Prince learned to read and write at a baptist Sunday-school, and at nine years of age was set to practise reed-making, as a help to his father. As he grew up his chief solace amid tedious toil and privation was got from the few story and poetry books which he managed to procure. He worked with his father for ten years, living in turn at Wigan and Manchester, and at Hyde in Cheshire; and towards the end of 1826 or beginning of 1827, before he was nineteen, he married a girl named Orme, at Hyde. This step only plunged him into deeper distress. In 1830 he was tempted to go in search of work to St. Quentin in Picardy; but on reaching that place he found that the revolution of July 1830 had paralysed business, and after a stay of two months he made his way by Paris to Mülhausen, where again he was doomed to disappointment. He underwent many hardships on his tramp to Calais, and from Dover to Manchester, where he found his miserable home broken up and wife and children sent to the poorhouse at Wigan....

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